“My first year of teaching in the USA could not be describe in just one word. This experience opened my eyes and heart to so many realizations and emotions. I am humbled to know and learn the effective strategies and classroom management that my mentor and co-teachers taught me. Yes, students in the United States are very different from the students in my country, and that’s why there was a struggle at first… but, I was able to adjust eventually due to the wonderful assistance I received. I feel a bit sorry for my students in my home country when I experienced the power of technology in classroom learning here, as they don’t have the same opportunity. Students here are very lucky to enjoy so much when it comes to Education. I am the only Filipino teacher at our school, which is why students are very curious and attentive every time I tell story about my home. As I have witnessed how students here are abundant with many things, I can’t help it but think about my students in the Philippines. Last December, I sponsored a clown show in my school (first time ever). We raised funds and sent them to my school in the Philippines for the construction of a covered court. This experience was life-changing.
I admire how the system works here. I was able to feel the sense of achievement and fulfillment that comes with teaching here in the USA. Indeed, this cultural exchange program opens the door to learning about another country so that we can improve/bring new methods back to our own. I also noticed how teachers here are empowered. It’s uplifting and motivating to try and perform better, because teachers are appreciated and valued. Everyone in my work place is very helpful and friendly. Their assistance to me goes beyond the limit of just a co-worker. I feel loved and cherished, which is why I often forget to feel homesick.
As part of the exchange program, I did a presentation that included the traditions and customs of Filipinos when celebrating Halloween. Students were astounded on the timeline of the Filipino celebration, the food, and the various ways of honoring and remembering their loved ones who passed away. It was a fun-filled learning day which focused on respect of traditions and appreciation of other cultures. It’s a great joy to witness my students open their minds and learned to appreciate and respect other countries, their traditions, and their customs. My students’ new knowledge about the other side of the globe brought more curiosity to learn and research more about my country. In addition, it emphasized that no culture is superior or inferior, because they are all unique and interesting in their own way.
Indeed, the impact of this exchange program is beyond what eyes could see.”