News
Local educators play host to visiting teachers from Brazil

By Mandy Underwood

Two teachers from the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sol in Brazil are visiting Wabash County and living with and learning from local teachers who will then make the trip to Brazil in June.

The Paper of Wabash County sat down with Mark Nevil and his exchange teacher, Odilnei Vieira, and Tammy Farlow and her exchange teacher, Denise Stroschön to learn about the experiences they have had while participating in this program.

The program, Bilateral Educator Exchange, or BEE, began in 2019 when Indiana educator Jill Woerner connected with Roberta Pegoraro from Brazil to expand the hearts minds of teachers in both their home countries to better understand diversity and globalize education within their classrooms. BEE is a program by Global Indiana and supported by Partners of the Americas.

Currently there are around 11 educators from each country participating.

Farlow, a foreign language teacher at Southwood High School is currently hosting Stroschön.
Stroschön is an engineer by trade but also teaches German at a linguistics specialty school that teaches students from the ages of 13 to 55.

Nevil, the music teacher at Wabash High School is hosting Vieira, an English teacher.

During their visit, both Stroschön and Vieira experienced snow for the very first time.

“I’m like a child. I take a lot of pictures. It’s beautiful,” said Stroschön.

“The funny thing is that a few days ago, we were walking around with no coats and she got a lot of pictures, so now she can make a lot of comparisons with scenes and landscapes with sunshine and then with snow,” said Farlow with a laugh.

Vieira says that he had fun making snow angels and having a snowball fight for the first time with his hosts.

When asked what some major differences were in the education setting, Stroschön said that the students here are much quieter and know how to get their work done.

“I love to see the students here. They come in and sit and they know how they have to be and they do their work.” 

Farlow shared that her biggest takeaway from this experience is the fact that she has witnessed her students step up.

“I have been amazed at how much my students are willing to help someone who needs to make an adjustment,” she said.

“Whether it’s showing her something down the hallway or explain how to say something in English. Seeing how the students want her to have a good experience I think is something that confirms to me that we are on the right path with what our students are building in regards to their character and a lot of other pieces that we can’t necessarily always teach them.”

Vieira said that one of the biggest differences he has witnessed is how the classes change, and how long the school day is.

“At my school, the students all have their classrooms and the teachers switch between them for different times of the day. And we only have school for morning, afternoon, or evening. Not all day like here.”

Both Nevil and Farlow spoke of the interesting way that each of them has been able to connect with their guests even though they are from different parts of the world.

Farlow and Stroschön both have family who has worked in the woodworking business, so they have been able to connect on that level. Nevil and Vieira both have a love for music.

During their time in Indiana, the exchange teachers have toured Wabash, visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indiana Statehouse done some shopping, and attended a Pacer’s basketball game, and have met many new people. 

Nevil and Farlow will travel to Brazil from June 6-20 to stay with Stroschön and Vieira to be able to experience their culture and learn about their educational practices with financial help from the Wabash Community Foundation.

Nevil told The Paper that this experience has encouraged him to try new things and that it is also an encouragement to the students who are witnessing this experience to be willing to step out of their comfort zones as well.

“Sometimes change is more difficult as we get more comfortable with our day to day,” said Nevil. “I found that when I take the risk, the gain is always greater than the fear of taking that risk.”

For more information about BEE, visit globalindianainc.org/beeprogram.
 

Posted on 2020 Feb 11