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Education

Westchester resident, Lyons educator returns home after teaching in Russia

Joanne Clyde, of her trip to Russia. Clyde, center, posing with a group of tenth graders.
Joanne Clyde, of her trip to Russia. Clyde, center, posing with a group of tenth graders.

WESTCHESTER – After spending two weeks in Russia with the Teachers for Global Classrooms program, a Westchester resident is back in the states and eager to share her experiences.

Joanne Clyde, who teaches English Language Learners at George Washington Middle School, in Lyons, was one of 12 educators chosen to go to Russia. After teaching in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Clyde said she'd recommend being apart this program to any teacher.

In an interview with Suburban Life reporter Kristin Pedicini, Clyde detailed her recent experiences.

Pedicini: Why did you decide to join the program?

Clyde: The program is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to travel and also it's a way to learn how to bring more globalized teaching into the classroom. I have students from all over the world come into my class and it's a way for me to have a greater understanding of where my students are coming from and how to teach the students to be of use in a global community. 

Pedicini: What differences did you notice between American and Russian classrooms?

Clyde: The classes were smaller, and the schools were different in that [they] were first [grade] through 11th grade all at the same school and no 12th grade. They offer kindergarten, but it's not like what it is here in America, it's what we'd consider pre-kindergarten ... We have more group interaction and it's a noisier classroom. In Russian schools, when a teacher walks in all the students stand up and don't sit down until they're told to. And they have much more formal lessons … We're focused on creative problem solving and in Russia it's more here's the right answer. There's no special education or second language acquisition classes, it was a foreign idea to them.

Pedicini: Why do you think this is an important program?

Clyde: This program is so very important and not just because of the travel ... Our world is becoming so much more interconnected and we have no idea what our students are going to face in the future. We're teaching them skills for jobs that don't exist yet, so being able to think globally and how to interact with other cultures is so vital. This whole program has been the most rewarding experience in my professional career.

Pedicini: What will you take away from this experience?

Clyde: My students come with these experiences in different cultures and backgrounds and those have value too ... To teach [the students] to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment … How do we teach our students to look beyond Lyons and how do we teach them too look thoughtfully and respectfully at different perspectives and how to communicate ideas effectively across cultures or maybe even in Russia... My students need to know the skills to communicate with someone from a different culture or religion or linguistic background …They're going to have to participate in this world and take action to fix problems ... Being apart of this program, I'm learning how vital these skills are for our students to use in their lives.

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As a part of the program, Clyde kept a blog detailing her time in Russia. To access the blog, photos and other resources, visit http://shawurl.com/14cq.

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