Simpson University Offers Overseas Teaching Options
REDDING, Calif. - When it was her turn, Redding resident Vicki Droscher picked Italy. Brian Hall chose Ethiopia. No, these two didn't win an around-the-world lottery - they opted for overseas adventures to fulfill their student teaching requirements in Simpson University's School of Education.
Since 1994, Simpson's comprehensive teacher credential program has graduated more than 1,300 teachers. Each teacher-in-training is required to spend a semester student-teaching in an actual classroom. Simpson works with many north state schools in this capacity. It is also one of six colleges in California that partners with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools to offer the unique option of teaching in a foreign country.
Droscher, who worked until recently as the attendance secretary at Enterprise High School, did her first student-teaching session with first-graders at Cypress Elementary School in Redding. Sitting in class one evening at Simpson, her ears perked up when a classmate said she was going to Germany to student teach. Droscher asked her professors for more information, and applied to a U.S. Naval school in Naples, Italy.
'It was an incredible experience,' she said. 'I can't tell you how spoiled I was.' During the spring of 2005, Droscher taught sixth-grade math to 80-85 students, rotating classrooms. On weekends, she was able to travel throughout Europe. She stayed on two bases with other students, traveling by bus.
The Department of Defense Education Activity operates schools in more than a dozen countries, seeking to provide education for military children and civilians on overseas assignments, according to the department's Web site.
'The personal experience of learning about other people and cultures is one of most important things in the preparation of viable citizens in our global neighborhood,' the site states. Droscher echoed that sentiment. 'It teaches you culture,' she said. 'Here you have all these kids that have been all over the world. They come and go very fluidly.'
Droscher earned a bachelor's degree in psychology through Simpson's ASPIRE program, an accelerated evening-and-weekend program designed for working adults to finish their degree. But she knew she wasn't finished. 'Originally, my dream was to be a teacher 30 years ago,' she said. She enrolled in the one-year teacher credential program, which also meets on weeknights and Saturdays. The program's flexibility allowed her to keep her full-time job until student teaching, at which time she took a leave of absence.
'I was extremely nervous going back as an older student,' she admitted. 'I wondered, can I really do this? Every department at Simpson was really good about guiding me, walking me through things.'
And Droscher's dream is finally coming true. This fall, she started teaching third-grade in Las Vegas.
Brian Hall found his overseas teaching opportunity in a different way. While studying at Simpson, he learned through friends in his hometown of Paradise, Calif., about an international school in Ethiopia. Simpson's education professors helped him make the arrangements to do his student-teaching at Bingham Academy. Student-teaching must be done at an accredited school with an accredited supervisor.
Hall taught fourth-grade to about 20 students. Like Droscher's classroom, his contained students from many countries. Hall and other teachers lived at the school, which is in the capital city of Addis Ababa. 'It was a great experience student-teaching and getting to know people,' he said.
Such a great experience, in fact, that Hall returned after graduation to teach for two more years and plans to return on a longterm basis. 'I thought about Ethiopia every single day when I got back,' he said. 'I know I'm supposed to be there.'
Contact: SU Public Relations