Halfway through the semester, a new group of Miami students arrived at the Château, ready to teach the young minds around them. These students are part of Student Teaching Enhancement Program (STEP) and most are education majors. They chose to spend eight weeks student-teaching at a local school near Oxford before traveling to Luxembourg to spend eight more weeks student-teaching at the local international school.
Morgan Rost, a senior middle childhood education major, and Maddie Weitz, a senior early childhood education major, are two of this semester’s STEP students. Read on to learn more about their experiences in the MUDEC STEP program!
Q: Why did you decide to come here to do your student teaching as opposed to doing it back home?
Morgan: We split it half and half, so we did the first eight weeks in Oxford and then we did the last eight weeks here. I really liked it because you get to compare the school systems, and it's so much different here in Luxembourg. I'm so glad I came. I love to see the things that have worked here that we could take back home.
Maddie: I also really liked the aspect of having half my time in Oxford and then half here, because I saw it as double the placements. So I got to experience two different schools and two totally different cultures.
I also knew that I wanted to come back to Luxembourg. I've been here a couple of times before, and I plan on teaching internationally after I graduate. So I knew that I wanted this international teaching experience now to make sure that that's actually what I want to do.
Q: What do your weeks look like? How much are you at the school?
Morgan: At the secondary school, my classes each meet three times a week in a different room, and at different times. So it's set up like college. I am teaching three classes full time, and then I'm observing three more classes. So on Mondays I teach three classes (two of them are doubles), and I observe one. On Tuesdays I observe two classes; on Wednesdays I teach three and observe two; and on Thursdays I teach three and observe one. And then on Friday I don't have any classes, which is really nice, but I still go to the school to meet with my cooperating teachers. So I would say I'm at school from about nine to three o'clock each day.
Maddie: I teach Monday through Friday. I'm mostly with one class at the primary school, so I kind of just follow one teacher's schedule. I'm there from 8:15 to 3:45, Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday I finish teaching at 11:00, and on Friday I finish teaching at 1:00, which is super nice. That would never happen in the United States. In the evenings, I have dinner and play games with my host family and then travel almost every weekend.
Q: What are some places you’ve traveled?
Morgan: At the school, every Friday is a half day and then teachers do professional development the rest of the day, which is really cool. So we get off at 12:00 or 1:00 on Fridays, and then we head places after that. We've actually traveled everywhere together, so it's really nice.
On the first weekend we went to Paris. When we had a week off for All Saints Break, we went to Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. Then we stayed in Luxembourg another weekend, and after that we went to Amsterdam. This weekend we're going to the Christmas market in Strasbourg, then to Malta, and then London.
Q: What has been your favorite part of getting to have a little bit of an atypical teaching experience, or just being here in general?
Morgan: I just love seeing how this whole system is set up. It's just so different. Back in the States, I taught the same class four times over and I was there all day. But here, teachers are in front of the classroom for fewer hours, with extra time to prepare lessons. Also the traveling is really nice!
Maddie: I second all of that, and obviously the travel is incredible. But it's been so cool to see how different the school system is, yet how similar some things are. I feel like I can really pick and choose the best parts of both teaching experiences. I feel like I'll be able to pull from my experiences in both places to create the best possible classroom for my future students.