Changing lives around the world: Education alumni teach globally
December 15, 2013 | Ian Richardson
Dana Kincaid had always enjoyed studying other cultures, but it was an Evangel University Education Department trip to Kyrgyzstan during her junior year that helped her realize she was being called to teach in another country.
As she continued praying about her future, she says more doors opened. During her senior year, a professor notified her of a teaching position in southern Asia, an area where more special education teachers and resources are needed.
Kincaid began pursuing this job, and after graduating in 2010 with a degree in Elementary Education, she traveled overseas to accept her teaching position at a learning center in southern Asia for children with special needs.
She is set to return to Asia again in 2014.
“I love seeing the children progress and sharing hope with families desperate for truth,” Kincaid says. “Each child is created with value, purpose and potential. It is a joy to watch them learn and grow.”
Kincaid is one example of how Evangel education alumni have been reaching far beyond U.S. borders over the years, preparing students to go all over the Earth as teachers to make a global impact for Christ.
Dr. Peggy Reed, associate professor of education, says Evangel prepares its students to teach in different cultures by providing practicums in a wide range of school settings, including different incomes, geographical areas and ethnic or linguistic characteristics. She says Evangel as a whole encourages students to think globally through Global Connections, the cross-cultural experience program required for all students.
“Although some students know before they enroll here that they want to teach overseas, others have mentioned specific events that opened their eyes to the possibilities,” Reed says. “Some examples are taking international trips, hearing guest speakers and visiting with recruiters from international schools that come to classes or have booths outside the dining hall.”
Reed says that graduates are well prepared to teach no matter where they go.
“Once they are in a position, our graduates, whether they are teaching in the U.S. or overseas, say their education has prepared them very well to teach anywhere,” she says.
Another graduate to go overseas is Casey (last name withheld), who graduated in 2006 with degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She says she felt called to teach from a young age, and that she began to feel called to teach overseas during middle school.
“Over time, I realized what an open door I would have as a teacher to go places that are difficult to access through traditional methods,” Casey says. “The Lord developed within me a passion to reach those who have never had the opportunity to know true love.”
After graduating, Casey taught for five years in the Springfield Public School system, waiting for the door to open for her to travel overseas.
“Several times during those years, I looked online at the Assemblies of God website for opportunities to work with children in Africa,” she says. “When God finally gave me the OK, He led me again to an opportunity I had seen before — teaching at an international school in a Muslim country in East Africa.”
Casey says this position is her dream job.
“I had the opportunity to do so many things I love to do: teach kindergarten and English, share the love of Jesus with precious Muslim children and their families, live in Africa, and make amazing friends from all over the world.”
Casey says the strategies, philosophies and methodologies she learned at Evangel well equipped her for teaching in an international classroom. She also credits the practicum experiences she gained and the relationships she formed with her professors as being instrumental in her preparation.
“I was challenged by professors to evaluate practices I saw in the classroom and to participate often in self-reflections so that I could constantly improve by teaching abilities,” she says. “I was encouraged and cheered on by a faculty that knew me, believed in me and invested in me.”
For any current and future students interested in teaching overseas, Kincaid says she recommends getting involved in the overseas trips the university offers, just like she did.
“Spend a spring break or summer overseas,” Kincaid says. “This is a fantastic way to gain practical experience, cultural awareness, and potential connections for future teaching opportunities. Also, ask your professors and other EU personnel for resources and info on any openings or international programs.”
Invest in future teachers at Evangel in honor of American Education Week
Read Dr. Colleen Hardy’s blog about American Education Week.