US students teach at local schools

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

They arrived from our sister city, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA and for the next few weeks, seven teaching students, from the University of North Carolina, will be finalizing their certification in La Isla Bonita. As part of their certification, Kristen Trotter, Amy Lancaster, Margo Ennis, John Derian, Wendy Unsworth, Will Fassbender and Amanda Barnes, the seven students, have to teach actual students up close and personal in the real classroom environment. They first taught at their various assigned schools in New Hanover County but as part of a special exchange program, they are now teaching at San Pedro High School and Isla Bonita Elementary.

Well received by both students and teachers, Professor of Education, Dennis Kubasko, who is accompanying the group, says that, “this is just the beginning of a great exchange program where both countries will benefit.” According to Kubasko, this program was facilitated by the Consulate of Belize, Dr. Edward Paul and Mayor of San Pedro Town Elsa Paz through the close ties that bind both through their sister city relationship.
Through the program, the students have not only experienced teaching in the classrooms but have also realized the similarities in the problems faced by teachers of both countries. “We have so many similarities when it comes to the problems, such as poor class attendance, being overworked but yet underpaid. But we can also see the love that these teachers have for their profession and for their students, something that we can very much relate to.”
The students have enjoyed their time spent in classrooms in San Pedro Town, “Students that we teach are so curious but they acclimate to us and welcome us into their environment,” said Trotter. The beautiful island scenery had not been brushed off by the students either who enjoyed a day of fishing during their weekend. “It is nice to see the Caribbean Sea from the classroom, the swaying palms to just get the island feel has been great,” commented Derian.
The seven students plan on leaving with a fabulous experience which will include not only points toward their certification but a love for Belize’s culture and island life, as well as its people. “The people here have been great and so fantastic. They have all been so welcoming, attentive and friendly,” ended Kubasko.
As part of the Sister City relationship enjoyed between Wilmington and San Pedro, this is the first in, what is hoped to be, many exchange programs. Kubasko stated that this is “just the beginning of a long term relationship.”


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