INTAD Student Teaches Agriculture in Korea

Posted: October 1, 2014

A micro-teaching experience in the Republic of Korea inspires empathy of English Language Learners in INTAD/Agricultural & Extension Education student Amanda Forstater.

Confused. A little frustrated. Wondering how I was going to say a simple hello, let alone ask the important questions like “Where’s the subway?” or “Where’s the bathroom?”

These were just some of the thoughts running through my head during our morning language classes our first week in the Republic of Korea this summer. Learning a new language is always hard; learning a new language that has no crossover to your own feels impossible. Each class was a challenge, but I knew it was a necessary challenge every time I walked down the street and saw a sign written in Korean instead of English.

Imagine you have just walked into a room, where no one looks like you, and you can’t understand a single word spoken. Additionally, only some people understand what you are saying, and it doesn’t matter if you leave the room because all the rooms are like this. This is how I imagine it must feel for English Language Learners when they walk into a U.S. classroom. I’ve never felt like a minority before this experience, and while I’ve always considered myself an empathetic person, this experience has opened my eyes to how my future students may feel in a way I would have never gained without this international experience.

INTAD Amanda Team Teaching I experienced this again on the flip side while micro-teaching in the agricultural high schools. Now not only did I see the confusion on my students’ faces when I taught in English, I saw their relief when my Seoul National University co-teacher repeated our instructions in Korean. I saw their amazement when my American co-teacher or myself repeated a word or phrase in Korean. And I felt nervousness and confusion when my students spoke in very fast Korean and I had no idea what was said.

 As an INTAD student it’s important for me to expand my horizons internationally, both agriculturally and culturally, and my Korean adventures this summer certainly accomplished that. As a future educator it is my job to create a safe environment for my students to learn and grow in, and one of the ways I can do this is to constantly work to develop my global competency skills, and help my students become exposed to and comfortable with all kinds of diversity so that they too can develop their global competency skills. My summer with #AgEd2Korea was a once in a lifetime experience and I know it has changed my outlook on life and how I want to impact and influence my future students.