Seventeen years ago, when Rosemary first began teaching in northern Uganda, chances are that she had no idea that nearly two decades later she would be sharing her love for English literature with students in the US. But just last month, Rosemary spent her winter holiday in Florida, teaching and living alongside fellow English educators through Invisible Children’s Teacher Exchange program.
The Teacher Exchange is a program designed to help both Ugandan and international educators improve their teaching methods and provide a cultural exchange for a school’s student body. With the aim of energizing Ugandan teachers and their international counterparts by expanding their skill sets, the TEX brings 20-30 secondary school teachers from abroad to teach and interact with Ugandan teachers for six weeks each summer, and sends a group of Ugandan teachers to do the same in the U.S. each winter. This winter, Rosemary was among a group of 5 teachers from northern Uganda who made the trek to the United States.
Participating in all aspects of American school culture, Rosemary taught in the classroom, attended club meetings and sporting events, and shared the history and culture of northern Uganda with those that she met. As a result, her partner teachers and students were greatly impacted by the experience. “Meeting someone from a different part of the world has offered us something that we never would have been able to have otherwise,” one of Rosemary’s partner teachers, Rick, explained.
Matt, another teacher who worked closely with Rosemary saw the difference in his students at the close of the exchange. “We have had incredible conversations about ourselves and our culture,” he said. “I could really see how meaningful it was for the students as well.”
Returning to Uganda, Rosemary brings with her a wealth of new ideas and experiences. Her time in the US was “all around meaningful,” she explained. “My partners, my students being free with each other and me – it broadened my knowledge. The whole experience has been so great…I learned games and teaching methods from them, which I plan to take home. I feel enriched in all areas. I feel so grateful.”