Opening the door, 21 shining eyes were staring at me. I was a student teacher in 2B class for four weeks! I had the thrill of taking on something new, the role of a real teacher. This brief moment of reflection went away with the naive questions of children to me; “What is your name?” “What countries have you been to?” “Are you married?” and so on.
Chadwick International School is International School in Songdo, and the original school is Chadwick School in California, USA. The school’s mission is to develop global citizens with keen minds, exemplary character, self-knowledge, and the ability to lead.
What Surprised Me
Facilities in the school
I was pop-eyed when I wandered around the school. Chadwick international school is divided into Village School, Middle School, and Upper School. Each school has its own library, cabinets, and classrooms reflecting each grade’s characteristics. Also, there are swimming pool, greenhouse, makerspace, theater, chicken coop, and rock climbing center in the school, and extra restroom and water fountain in the classroom. The environment in the school itself – that I have not experienced in my childhood or seen in public schools – evoked new interest in Chadwick international school to me.
Association with technologies
Along with facilities, the fact that every student in the school possesses an Ipad surprised me. The Ipad was not used simply as an electronic device, but it was a major part of the students’ education. Children were communicating with their friends utilizing some applications on their Ipad and were storing their portfolios in their own pages which were also spaces for their parents and teachers to share and discuss opinions. Also, they were fluent in coding and making documents using an Ipad. I had expected that if the technology is applied to education, it would distract children’s attention and cause some side effects. However, seeing this technology-based education gave me the chance to think about whether I was adding to the stereotypes about technology.
What Impressed Me
Collaboration of Two Teachers
There was one experienced teacher and one intern in a classroom in the Village School. Can two teachers lead the classroom well without a problem? The answer after four weeks in Chadwick is, “Yes, by cooperation.” Two other styles in a classroom derived diversity and communication, not crash and confusion. When a teacher was having a lesson, the other teacher observed children’s behaviors and traits in the back. Then they discussed personal assignments considering the child’s level and trait. Sometimes, they made two big groups of students and gave each group a different topic about one subject relying on each teacher’s styles. Two teachers changed their groups after a while, and they naturally taught children different points of view. This was so awesome that it considered the education as a whole and the education as an individual altogether.
Connection Inside and Outside the School
The sparkling word that comes to mind when I think of Chadwick is the word ‘connection.’ Inside the classroom, there are connections between two teachers, and between students through group work. The lesson was always open to everyone including parents, other teachers, student teachers like me, and even to the outsiders of the school. Outside the classroom, parents came to school to give a lecture about their specialized subject. Sometimes, the school called the outside enterprises; in my staying period, the school invited a ballet company as a part of the education of preschoolers. This inside and outside connection was one of the most impressive parts to me because it was showing that education is not limited to the teachers and students.
What Motivated Me
Enthusiasm of Teachers
In Chadwick, teachers’ passion for education and love toward children were amazing. Five Core Values, which refer to Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Compassion, and Honesty, are key values for everyone in Chadwick. According to these values, teachers continuously mentioned about these to children and showed these in their lives, too. For instance, one teacher asked his student, "Is your behavior respectful?" rather than "Whay are you misbehaving?" One special time when I could feel a teacher’s efforts was during a teacher’s meeting. Teachers were sharing their ideas freely, completing big and small frames in its independent education. They even discussed tiny things such as ‘What artists should we introduce students in the unit Visual Art?’, and ‘How can I educate students who are confused with the concept of rows and columns?’
Realization of the Dream School
There are two big holidays that inspired me in Chadwick: Pajama Day and World Read Aloud Day. Each day had an event that all members in the school wore pajamas and an event that they dressed up like their own favorite characters in the book respectively. The thing I want to do most in my future class has always been making an event in school in which teachers and students all together design one big theme and feel happy throughout the event. My dream became a reality! That morning when the events were held, the answer “I am happy” was the most common when the teacher asked children their feelings. The events involved a lot of invisible values such as rapport between students, teachers, and school and belief within each other that the general education is hard to obtain. I really want to make holidays in my future school, and now I have full confidence that I will.
In public schools, it is hard to expect ‘excellent educational facilities and resources, an open-minded school atmosphere that admits various ideas from everyone, and the willingness to construct education with students, parents, teachers, and the social community all together’ like Chadwick. Fortunately, meeting many teachers there, the idea that ‘teachers’ can change and develop a lot of things in educational society occupied one side of my mind. I want to share new viewpoints that I saw and felt in Chadwick and discuss directions of the future educational environment with peers in KNUE. As we are future teachers, if we do our best in this place to make better education, I expect another splendid educational world, though not the same exactly, comparable to Chadwick’s education.
Closing the door, 21 tearful eyes were running through my mind. Taking steps outwards, I had self-confidence that I learned a lot from this school, but also regret not having done more various things. Moments in Chadwick International School are surely the moments I will remember forever.
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