by Claire Miller
Abdoullah El Assri has been teaching for more than 20 years in his native country of Morocco, but he knows that even experienced educators can still learn and improve their teaching.
“I have two kids and I want to show them that learning has no limits – that you can learn your whole life,” he said.
El Assri is one of 22 teaching fellows from 10 different countries visiting the College of Education for the next seven weeks as they participate in the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program.
The program, which is funded by a grant from the International Research and Exchange Board, will offer its participants the opportunity to observe classrooms in Atlanta-area schools, develop and teach lessons and promote international collaboration among educators.
“This program is designed to provide these fellows with a glimpse of what goes on in American education,” said Gwen Benson, COE associate dean for school and community partnerships. “We have the opportunity to learn more about their cultures and to create long-lasting relationships and partnerships.”
In addition to observing and teaching classes, the fellows will take part in several cultural events and experiences, including visits to the High Museum of Art, the Georgia Aquarium, the Fox Theater and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. They will also attend an Atlanta Public Schools board meeting, watch a basketball game and go shopping at a local Wal-Mart while they’re in Atlanta.
At the end of their seven-week stay, the fellows will present what they’ve learned to College of Education faculty and staff.
Dilian Ortiz Sabillon, a teaching fellow from Honduras, hopes that by improving her teaching skills and learning from the American educational system, she will be able to make a real difference in her classroom and her community.
“If I can become a better teacher, I can help my students better themselves,” she explained. “And if I can help my students, I can help my society as a whole. I think this will bring positive changes to my country.”
For more information on the TEA Program, visit www.irex.org.