Klasse, jetzt sagen, dass es in Englisch (Great, now say it in English)
Sarah Elizabeth Wojcik, a 2013 Early Childhood Education Summa Cum Laude graduate from the College of Education has been awarded a prestigious 2013-2014 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Grundschule Katharina von Bora elementary school in Wittenberg, Germany.
"I have always seen myself as an ambassador" says Wojcik, "fostering connections and creating meaningful relationships. Whether it is inspiring American children and college students to pursue foreign-language learning, creating games and songs to help German third-graders remember English vocabulary, or modeling open-mindedness to elementary students during my teaching practicums, I strive to be an everyday ambassador for acceptance."
Having been a tutor for years and spending many hours in elementary school practicums, Wojcik found her passion for creating interactive, fun, and stimulating lesson plans that incorporate student interest and content standards for children of all ages. In addition to her student teaching in Columbia public schools, Wojcik taught an afterschool German-language class. It was that teaching experience that prepared her for teaching in Germany the summer of 2011. "I was selected to take part in a program that allowed me to spend a month in Magdeburg, Germany teaching English and assisting with German curriculum classes at Pierre Trudeau International School" says Wojcik. "While I spent the majority of my time leading the school's daily English classes to 3rd and 4th graders, I also assisted teachers of all subjects who conducted lessons in German." Now Wojcik is beginning another exciting journey.
The 2013 ETA opportunity will be Wojcik's third trip to Germany and she looks forward to learning more about German pedagogy and school life. "A dream project that I would love to start while I'm there" Wojcik smiles, "is a pen pal program. The writing partnership would be between the German students in my class and students at one of the local Columbia, South Carolina schools where I have worked as a student teacher. The students would write and mail weekly letters to their pen pals in English. I would then arrange monthly video calls between our class and our partner students in America. This project would encourage borderless friendship and acceptance while allowing both groups to practice their English writing and speaking skills."
Upon her return, Wojcik hopes to pursue teaching English as a second language as well as teaching special education and kindergarten. Her ultimate desire is to improve foreign-language education in the U.S. After teaching for five to ten years, Wojcik would like to become a school administrator and be an advocate for the needs of children as well as strengthening elementary school foreign-language programs.
Leaning back, Wojcik summarizes her overall life objective… "Because of my love for teaching and my curiosity in new and foreign cultures, working with children and the German language will always be part of my career in some way, no matter where I live. I want to give every child the same chance to experience different cultures that I had growing up because I am living proof of how life-altering it can be."