Katie Kasubick, South Korea
Blondie pickle bubble sponge hyper active chicken rages! That nonsense sentence created by my fifteen residents this summer is typical of my creative personality. Each child is capable of exceeding at whatever they put their mind to; the challenge for me as an educator is to discover what that is. I am an energetic, positive person who strives to bring out the best in others. I have been told I possess an idealistic view of others; however, I truly believe that every person has admirable qualities. As an educator, I strive to allow those qualities to shine.
I think that I am qualified for the Elementary Teaching Assistantship in South Korea, even though I have never traveled abroad. My elementary education classes and Honors College classes are sequenced in such a way that it is difficult to leave for a semester. Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Professional Studies in Education offers a six-week experience to student teach abroad, but I decided that length of time would be too short to fully learn about and experience a new culture. Given these reasons, I decided to wait so that I could study and teach abroad upon graduation.
This experience would be a new challenge to test the skills I learned in the classroom and the values instilled in me during the past twenty-two years. I look forward to the challenge that awaits me as I adjust to the culture and learning techniques of the South Korean schools because I learn the most when I confront the unknown and step out of my comfort zone.
I often consider how I will handle teaching in another language, culture, and country. My experience in urban environments, where the culture and language [Spanish] are much different from my own, has taught me that I adapt quickly. I diligently watch individuals interact in a new environment before throwing myself into the situation. I am sensitive to others and the barriers that may separate us. Those barriers, however, can be broken down by respecting others. I taught in poor, urban classrooms in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where students are writing with pencil stubs, unable to recognize letters and numbers at the end of kindergarten. One little girl had a recurring dream about her father’s suicidal death. I have had to alter geography lessons for students who have never seen or heard of a map. I have worked with extremely gifted students who were struggling with complex issues such as perfectionism and body image at ages eleven and twelve. I taught remedial math lessons to kindergarten students who could not understand that the number twenty follows the number nineteen. These experiences forced me to dive into my pedagogical knowledge, classroom strategies, and personal experiences to accommodate all students.
I think that the United States of the future is a country of many languages which will need integration into the classroom. It is crucial for me as a future educator to be able and willing to learn different languages. It will be my responsibility to provide a quality education for students learning the English language in my classroom. Immersion in a country where English is not the primary language will help me to understand and empathize with these students. In short, I want to learn from being “the outsider.” The global perspective that I will gain from my experiences in South Korea will stay with me when I return to the United States.
Read Katie's Statement of Proposed Study