Home Country: United States
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Going from the teacher to the “ever-curious student” is something Taylor Franks is fully prepared for. The special education teacher is used to spending her days in an American classroom but knows volunteering abroad will make her step outside her comfort zone. “I have the aspiration to play the dual-role of the teacher and student, where I am sharing my knowledge with those around me, yet taking in and interpreting what others have to share.” Taylor has taught English Language Learners at the elementary school where she works. She says through working and talking with these students she has come to love the creative teaching style. “I enjoy learning about their cultures, and appreciate the challenge of bridging a connection to learning a foreign language.” Taylor is keen to pack her notebooks and “escape into the unknown”.
Why are you passionate about teaching English abroad?
Learning a language allows for another avenue of communication between groups of people. Through language we are able to understand cultures, customs, and ideas that uniquely make up a person’s intricate identity. The ability to communicate opens the prospect of worldly connections that grants insight into cultures that differ from our own. I feel that recognizing this opportunity to gain an understanding of lives that are so different from ours is one that must be appreciated.
What experience/skills can you apply to teaching English abroad?
As a special education teacher, I am rewarded daily by working with groups of bright and unique students. The role of an educator is one that is multi-leveled and dynamic; I must bring forth the strengths that lie inside each and every one of my students, while helping them to discover the potential that continues to grow. Throughout my teaching experience, I’ve had the opportunity to teach a small group of English Language Learners at my elementary school. Through working and talking with these students, I have come to love teaching in a style that allows me to communicate with students who speak another language. I enjoy learning about their cultures, and appreciate the challenge of bridging a connection to learning a foreign language. Additionally, I have a role of staying the ever-curious student. I feel that it is important to model the drive to always ask questions and to always fuel the need to learn more. I believe that bringing these skills forward can allow for a comprehensive approach to education.
Why do you believe you will be effective in teaching English abroad?
I believe I will be effective in teaching English abroad because I have a desire to learn more. As a traveler, I understand the difficulty in learning a foreign language, yet see and understand the beauty that arises from a gained outlet in communication. I have the aspiration to play the dual-role of the teacher and student, where I am sharing my knowledge with those around me, yet taking in and interpreting what others have to share.
What are you looking to gain from the experience?
Traveling is an idealistic escape that allows for opportunity for development, growth, and promotes a sense of curiosity and appreciation. Though schooling and work has occupied a large portion of my life, I often find myself yearning for an escape into the unknown- to a place where I can learn something outside the walls of a classroom. I feel that learning does not necessarily have to take place in a structured environment, and in fact, learning is best when connections are fulfilled and the motivation to learn is strong. Having the opportunity to teach in such a setting will allow me to uproot the basis of education; the importance, the freedoms, and the responsibilities that arise in those who are lucky to afford themselves the opportunity. As an educator, I find a desire to share and acquire knowledge, experience, and connections in hopes to inspire students to pursue their own curiosity.