By Fadoua Rhazoui
By Fadoua Rhazoui
Morocco World News
Washington DC, December 23, 2011
It was at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Washington DC where the IIE staff organized the mid-year conference and invited FLTAs from different countries around the world to gather in order to reflect on their first semester experience, to improve their teaching skills, and also to change the routine and see their friends. The conference lasts three days. It was an opportunity to enrich the TAs’ skills as it was a mirror through which we could see the positive as well as the negative sides in our first semester performances. Everybody noticed that the conference had eclectic and diverse activities; there were talks given by representatives of the Department of State, workshops organized by professors working in different universities, and also presentations by some FLTAs.
During the first day, Ms. Michelle Johnson, the deputy director at the office of Academic exchange programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs U.S. Department of State, and Mr. Edward Monks, the director at the Institute of International Education, and others talked about the work teacher assistants had been doing while at their host institutions, giving the example of some who were contributing to the community and some who were handling discussions to build bridges between cultures and religions. After that, there were workshops by some devoted and competent professors about different skills teachers should have and also some helpful and handy tools that can be used in class.
In addition, during the last day, the floor was given to FLTAs to participate and share their first semester experiences. Because I was one of those who were assigned to do this, I can only admit that it was a great thing sharing my experience with friends and letting them know about all the activities as well as the feelings I had when I first arrived to the US, and then concluding with what I have learned from it. Some others preferred to share the knowledge they have gained about some practical teaching tools. In brief, this was well organized, beneficial, educational, and more importantly, practical.
To finish the conference with something different and to make it more diverse, FLTAs from different countries were assigned to present their country and traditions at a cultural table. Everyone there seemed interested to learn more about each others’ cultures. Visiting all the stands and tables, displaying pictures, and asking questions only showed the eagerness, the excitement, and the passion to share and discover more about one another. A talent show was also another way of presenting different cultures. Many FLTAs took part, showing the talent they have. It was a very enjoyable experience that will certainly remain engraved in the minds and hearts of all the participants.
All in all, the International Institute of Education staff did a great job in making the conference a success. Every one was satisfied with the assorted activities and the varied options the conference offered. It was a truly motivating experience, which gave everyone of us the strength and energy to embark on the spring semester with open hearts, superfluous preparation, and more enthusiasm to give an extra effort and become even more committed to our work.
Fadoua Rhazoui is a Moroccan citizen from Kenitra. She is a holder of a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature as well as a teaching diploma from the Regional Pedagogical Center in Tangiers. Besides working in a high school, she worked with the Moroccan Association for kindergarten and primary education as a trainer in Rabat. She is FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship) Fulbright scholarship grantee, working in Colby College in Maine where she teaches Arabic.
Editing By Benjamin Villanti