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International Teachers

How Participate Learning’s Support Helps Teachers Adapt to Life in the U.S.

Each year, hundreds of Participate Learning Ambassador Teachers begin preparing for their journey to the U.S. long before they actually travel. Once teachers are accepted into the program after an extensive application process, they complete online coursework in preparation to be a cultural ambassador and global educator. Their learning continues during an in-person orientation once they travel to the U.S. to start the school year. All of this training from Participate Learning helps teachers understand the U.S. education system and enhance their teaching instruction. 

Now that school is well underway, first-term Ambassador Teachers have a taste for what living and working in the U.S. is like firsthand! All of their learning and preparation gets put into practice and becomes tangible. 

At Participate Learning, we support Ambassador Teachers with their professional and personal goals so they can have life-changing experiences. One of the ways we do this is to continue their training at our annual Fall Orientation. This is an important time to support teachers as they adjust to their new life and school. At our Fall Orientation we have three main objectives to equip teachers to succeed for the rest of the school year and beyond.

Allow teachers to reflect and build relationships.

As teachers adjust to a new country, a new culture, and a new job, it can be quite overwhelming! One of our goals at the Fall Orientation is allowing teachers to take a break and reflect on their first few months in the U.S. 

Coming together with other Ambassador Teachers who are having similar experiences is very powerful and encouraging. During the Fall Orientation, teachers use collaboration and reflection to brainstorm ways they can improve their instruction and classroom management. They problem solve in small groups, helping one another with challenges and questions. Teachers walk away with new techniques, strategies, and encouragement.

Another aspect of their reflection is to process culture shock. Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is a very common experience. Support from other teachers and Participate Learning staff helps ease these feelings. Teachers are encouraged at the Fall Orientation to lean on their community of other global educators for support.

Expand teachers’ global leadership capacity.

Part of Ambassador Teachers’ mission during their time in the U.S. is to bring global perspectives to the classroom. Teachers share their own culture and expose students to new ideas, traditions, and ways of life. At the Fall Orientation, teachers learn more about how to globalize their daily instruction and share their culture in meaningful ways. 

As ambassadors of their home countries, teachers inspire a love of the wider world in their students. Having a global educator as a teacher helps build empathy, curiosity, and critical thinking in students. At the Fall Orientation, teachers are equipped with new ideas and resources to enhance their global instruction.

Connect teachers to mentors and role models.

Another goal of the Fall Orientation is to connect first-term teachers with other Ambassador Teachers who are farther along in their journey living in the U.S. Teachers who are in their third, fourth, or fifth term travel to the Fall Orientation to facilitate sessions and share their own experiences. 

This is a powerful way for first-term teachers to see someone in their situation who has adapted to life in the U.S. and is thriving as a leader and mentor. Hearing from experienced Ambassador Teachers gives new teachers hope and encouragement. This also provides leadership opportunities for more experienced teachers and a chance to give back to their ambassador community.

We want teachers to walk away from the Fall Orientation refreshed and full of new ideas and strategies they can take back to their classroom. Collaboration, globalizing instruction, and connecting to mentors are all essential for first-term teachers to succeed in their new environment. At Participate Learning, we strive to ensure Ambassador Teachers feel supported and equipped so they can maximize their cultural exchange experience

If you are interested in starting your U.S. teaching journey, learn more about Participate Learning’s cultural exchange program and the support we offer Ambassador Teachers.