Teaching students adventure across seas

Carina Lopez Quintero, Lifestyle Editor

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The UW-Whitewater International Student Teaching program has successfully completed another trip to Jamaica this last Fall. Through this program, students in the College of Education are able to complete part of their teaching requirements by teaching abroad.

Whether one chooses to take part in the two-week field experience or five-week student teaching, the program has made it accessible for many students to expand their experience in this work field. This trip is organized by professor Amy Stevens, department chairperson of special education. Professor Stevens has traveled with students to Jamaica for the past seven years and is already planning her next trip. The students all get placed in classes that fit their academic area, whether that be special education, English, math, etc. Most days consist of teaching in classrooms located in the city of Mandeville, but the students also get to experience Jamaican culture and history. This program is unique in the way that it is both study abroad and student teaching.

“We also coordinate a special education conference for teachers so anybody that goes on this experience can get an international presentation on their resume. Most of them choose to present and get to interact with Jamaican teachers. When they develop their resumes to apply for jobs they can put down that they’ve done an international presentation at a conference. It’s something that other people don’t do as an undergraduate,” professor Stevens said.

Apart from their hard work,   the students also get to enjoy the beautiful island of Jamaica during the weekends. According to the UW-Whitewater Office of Global Experience, Mandeville, Jamaica has a population of approximately 72,000 and has been described as the most English-speaking town in Jamaica. In their last trip, they visited the Y’s Falls Appleton Estates, the Bob Marley Museum, the Black River Crocodile Safari, the seven Mile Beach and many more fun activities.

Madison Mikalauski, a junior majoring in special education, went on the last trip through the field experience program and plans to go back as a student teacher in the spring of 2021. One of her favorite memories was, “When we did gym class they don’t have a playground or blacktop, it was just on the grass outside of the school. My kids were obsessed with soccer and I play soccer here at the school. They didn’t think I was going to play with them in my dress and dress shoes, but I did. They also didn’t have a soccer ball, they had a beat-up basketball they used for every sport. It was fun to surprise them and show them that I actually knew what I was doing,” Mikalauski said.

All students stay at the Church Teacher’s College for the entirety of the trip, which is included in their cost of attendance. There are scholarships offered through the Center of Global Education minimizing the already low price of this program. It really is something special that UW-Whitewater offers to the students in the College of Education.

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