Teacher Spotlight: Scott Parker
At Participate Learning, we seek to grow and empower an international community of educators from around the world. We place teachers in schools from a wide range of experiences, nations, and cultures so that they may share their knowledge and personal perspectives with students. Our goal is to nurture global citizens by fostering curiosity and empathy in students to look beyond their local communities and make a positive impact.
Scott Parker is one of our cultural exchange teachers and has been with Participate Learning for several years. A fifth-grade global education and certified STEM teacher from the UK, he currently teaches in Charlotte, North Carolina. We sat down with Scott to discuss his experiences about teaching in the US, global citizenship, and the importance of drinking tea.
What has your experience been as an international teacher in the US?
Staff members and students alike are very inquisitive about my background, and it is a pleasure to share my experiences about the world to inspire the next generation of global citizens. Overhearing conversations with children planning trips to places like Japan, Korea, and Colombia makes it all worthwhile.
My students have taught me the value of communication, and I’m always adapting and developing how I communicate to help them be better organized and aware of tasks. I feel that children in the US consistently need to be engrossed in their learning, which can be a challenge – particularly with topics that aren’t traditionally geared toward that. This has helped me develop innovative strategies and lesson plans to ensure children enjoy their learning journeys.
Additionally, my students are so ingrained in the digital world. As teachers, we have to adapt our lessons to learning experiences that are far more rewarding, enriching, and entertaining for the students. The rise of social media and the influence the internet has on my student’s lives is something that I embrace. I’ve tried to demonstrate the importance of using this tool safely and effectively to benefit our learning.
Overall, teaching in the US has given me the opportunity to fully utilize project-based learning, not only into curriculum but also in my teaching strategies and philosophy. The respect that teachers are given in the US is something I really appreciate and enjoy—I feel valued and that I’m in a highly respected career.
How have you adjusted to cultural differences?
In regard to my own culture, I want my students to learn about the rich history of the British royal family and the Empire that once covered the whole world, as it is an important part of our culture. It’s also important for my students to understand that British people really do love their tea and that a game of cricket, which can last five days without a winner, will always be more entertaining than baseball!
One of my favorite US customs since moving here has been road trips. I’ve made sure that with each public holiday, we use the time wisely to explore places around the US. In the last couple of years, I’ve clocked up thousands of miles on the road to Philadelphia, New Orleans, Miami, and Washington, DC, to name just a few.
Having spent a lot of time in the US traveling with my parents and at summer camps in New York, I already knew the idea that the weather in the South is always wonderful is in fact far from the truth! Winters are cold with a good chance of snow, and summer months are blazing hot. Spring is the most beautiful time as the local nature comes alive, and the swimming pool is a great place to relax and reflect on another positive day.
What are some accomplishments you are proud of during your time in the US?
I’d say that one of my greatest successes as an educator is having children wanting to come to my school. I love being able to share my experiences to have students one day follow my footprints around the world while spreading kindness and tolerance to others. We regularly discuss global current events in the classroom, and how, as global citizens, our impact on the world is greater than just our local community.
Overall, I think my greatest career accomplishment came when I was awarded the honor of “Union County Public Schools, Beginning Teacher of the Year.” This is awarded to educators with outstanding classroom, communication, and teaching strategies. I now have a wonderful plaque hanging proudly in my classroom, which reminds me that hard work, enthusiasm, and passion for success always pays off in the end.
Read more about how Participate Learning can help you implement global citizenship in your classroom. For more information on how to teach in the US, visit our Teach in the USA page or contact us directly.