During the spring semester, the Education Department, along with the Study Abroad Office, is offering a program that will allow education majors to complete half of their student teaching requirement abroad in Auckland, New Zealand.
Four aspiring teachers–one Early Childhood Education major, one Secondary Biology Education major, and two Secondary Math Education majors –will be taking advantage of this opportunity in 2016.
Chris Shtur, one of the Secondary Math Education majors participating in the program, said, “I’m excited to study in New Zealand because I’ve never been one to travel or broaden my horizons. When this opportunity came up I thought, ‘why not go to the extreme end of going to the other side of the globe and studying in one of the world’s most beautiful countries?’”
The program is structured around a 14-week student-teaching experience. For the first seven weeks of the semester, Pitt-Greensburg students will student-teach in the Greensburg area. Then, starting February 29, students will travel to New Zealand for another seven weeks of student teaching, providing them with different perspectives of their future careers.
The study-abroad teaching program began two years ago, and was adapted from a program established at Pitt-Johnstown, which gives students an affordable option to study abroad.
Dr. Melissa Marks, the Director of Secondary Education, believes this program will enrich the careers of future teachers.
“I wish that every student would go somewhere and teach someplace else for half their student teaching,” she said. “In New Zealand, they don’t have standardized tests, the teachers really focus on learning, and they differentiate instruction. I really want students to be able to see what teaching should be.”