by Claire Miller
Southerners are often commended for their warm and welcoming ways, and it didn’t take long for Daniela Sobocinska to pick up on this positive trait.
“One of the first things I learned when I came here was how friendly and hospitable people are in the South,” said Sobocinska, who hails from Poland. “None of us felt like strangers here – we all felt at home.”
Sobocinska is one of 22 teaching fellows from 10 different countries who spent the last seven weeks with the College of Education, learning more about teaching and the American educational system through the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program.
Since arriving in Georgia in February, the fellows have been paired with host teachers in Atlanta-area schools and had the opportunity to observe and teach lessons. They also visited several city landmarks and attractions, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain and the High Museum of Art.
Their program culminated in a closing ceremony March 18, when the fellows presented some of the lessons they taught in schools and shared their thoughts on the program. They each received a certificate of achievement for the work they accomplished, and were quick to cheer for each other as they accepted their awards.
Gwen Benson, COE associate dean for school and community partnerships, and Lisa French, TEA program director, and other College of Education staff gave closing remarks that highlighted their time with the fellows.
“This has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Georgia State,” Benson said. “I love this program – you’re the best of the best, and I enjoyed spending these last seven weeks with you.”
When the TEA fellows return to their home countries, they’ll take with them a new outlook on education and a new set of friends from countries around the world.
“I learned about people from nine other countries, how our backgrounds are similar and how we approach problem solving,” Sobocinska said. “We learned a lot about each other and ourselves. I’m very sorry to leave because we’ve learned to love Atlanta.”
For more information on the TEA Program, visit www.irex.org.