Updated: Apr 23, 2022
What is it like spending your summer in an LRTT Fellowship in Uganda? I interviewed Michelle who spent time teaching in Uganda through an LRTT Fellowship. She shares how she got started, her experiences while there, and more.
The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel and you guessed it – teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find opportunities?
There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share Michelle’s story of teaching in Uganda through the LRTT Fellowship.
I loved reading her experience because it was really similar to what I did through Family Legacy in Zambia! I would highly recommend spending your summer coaching and learning from other teachers. It’s a rewarding and life-changing experience!
If you plan to be a traveling teacher, a TESOL certification is a great way to start. I got mine through International Open Academy for just $19! Highly recommend this as a first step in your traveling teacher journey.
This week I am excited to bring you a story about Michelle’s experience doing a summer teaching program in Uganda! Michelle and I actually go way back to 2011 when we were teachers together in Baltimore! It is so fun to read stories of friends! She took the opportunity during her summer to teach in Uganda and I’m excited to have her share her experience in the LRTT Fellowship with you below.
What inspired you to start teaching?
I am incredibly passionate about teaching here in the U.S. and wanted to expand my knowledge by coaching teachers in Uganda. I wanted to see how teachers there taught and learn from them and the fellow teachers in my program.
How long have you taught and where?
I’ve been teaching for the last 10 years, including 8 in Baltimore and 2 in New York City.
How did you find the opportunity to teach in Uganda?
I found the opportunity to coach teachers as a part of the LRTT fellowship by going to a booth at a teacher networking fair.
Were any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?
As a fellow, you cover all expenses yourself but some people did fundraise through various sites. If you become an LRTT Team Leader, then you lead the team of about 25-30 fellows then your trip expenses are covered.
Were you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?
Yes! I spent about a month in Uganda and we would coach and run PD during the week and on weekends, we did excursions. I was able to do once in a lifetime experiences like white water rafting on the Nile River, mountain trekking with gorillas, going on a safari to see lions, elephants, and more. It was a special experience to live in a local village, be a part of the school communities, and also be able to see the beauty and magic of the country.
What are interactions with students like?
Incredible! Our role there was to observe teachers, give feedback, and run professional development sessions. Sometimes we would model lessons but most of our interactions took place outside of the classroom during break times. The students loved getting to know us and we spent a lot of time talking, singing, dancing, and playing games. They were eager to show us about their lives just like we were as well. Students were always excited to show off their work in class and loved encouraging words from us coming into their class.
What is your favorite part of your teaching experiences?
MI would say the exchange of ideas and learning from others was the best part. I was a part of a team of 30 teachers that were coaching teachers at schools throughout the area. The teachers on my team were from the U.S., U.K., Scotland, and Australia. We would work together to coach, give feedback and plan PD sessions.
It was neat to learn about the different ways they approach education in their country and also see some of the similarities. But, I’d say I learned the most from the teachers in Uganda. They were all so energetic, positive, innovative, and creative. We truly learned so much from one another and I know we all left the experience with something new to take to our classrooms.
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?
I would say to be ready (and excited!) to be uncomfortable. Learning and growing comes from being uncomfortable and pushing yourself. Don’t be afraid to dive into the experience of teaching abroad and when you’re there, soak it in. Get to know everyone, ask questions, and immerse yourself in the community.
You can find more specific advice and information on teaching in Uganda through the LRTT fellowship by reaching out to Michelle on Instagram. Find more about other traveling teachers on my resource page!
Interested in more stories of short-term teaching experiences? Consider doing a teacher travel opportunity. Here are some others you might be interested in: