Pharos-Tribune

March 14, 2013

LHS to send three teachers to China

June trip part of developing sister-school partnership with Zhejiang province

by Sarah Einselen
Pharos-Tribune

— Three Logansport High School teachers are going to take a trip around the world this summer — to teach English as a second language in China for one month.

“I felt validated for all my efforts,” said Jitka Nelsonova Brychtova, who goes by Mrs. Nelson in her English-learner classroom at the high school. “I felt I had the experience and the background to be considered as a candidate.”

The school corporation was invited early this month to send a limited number of English teachers to Zhejiang, China, in June to teach English and familiarize themselves with the province where schools are in the process of becoming Logansport’s sister schools.

Zhejiang schools intend to send a small group of teachers to Logansport for a month in the fall, too, to teach basic Chinese to students at all four Logansport elementary schools. The teacher exchange furthers the schools’ developing partnership.

A linguist by training, Nelson has taught full-time at Logansport High School since 1996 after immigrating to the U.S. from the Czech Republic. She’s already traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe and into central America, she said, but has never visited China.

She’ll be going with fellow English teachers Beth Myers and Melanie Lang from May 30 to June 30, after school ends in Logansport.

Nelson looks forward to “teaching, sightseeing and soaking it in.”

“It feels like everything I have done so far in my life has led me to this point,” Nelson added. “My grandmother used to teach me that everything you learn at some point will be useful.”

Logansport schools are eyeing how to raise the funds to send the teachers now that they’ve gotten the OK from Zhejiang officials to send all three interested teachers.

“Basically, we have to fundraise enough money for their airfare,” said Michele Starkey, Logansport school superintendent. Once the teachers arrive, Zhejiang “will provide the housing, provide sightseeing trips for them and the food.”

Beth Myers, a 17-year veteran teacher in Logansport’s high school, said she was “thrilled and overwhelmed.”

It’ll be her first experience teaching English to speakers of other languages, she said, but she’s traveled to England and Spain multiple times.

“If you’re offered the chance, why not go?” she said, explaining her choice to throw her hat in the ring for the China trip.

Myers has downloaded a phone app to start learning basic Chinese characters. “I want to be able to recognize characters, pictures,” she said.

Second-year teacher Melanie Lang said she was “really surprised” she was given the opportunity.

“I am a young teacher,” she explained. “I’m only 24 ... I didn’t feel like I had as much experience as the other ladies going.”

Lang anticipates examining teaching methods for Chinese English classrooms and seeing how they might influence her teaching after her return.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

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