This semester, The College of Saint Rose welcomes 15 teachers from Africa, Asia and South America to experience American life on campus and beyond. Ranging from 25 to 50 years old, the educators each teach secondary
school English. Not only do they speak, read and write the language as well as most Americans, but their commitment to their profession appears to be universal.
“I am an English teacher, but sometimes when I go into the classroom, before I can start I have to be a doctor, I have to be a father. I have to be a mother. A psychologist,” said William Pincerno of Sao Paulo, Brazil. “More and more I have to listen and try to help those kids.”
Despite such familiar observations, the teachers come from vastly different systems in Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia, Morocco, India and Egypt, as well as Brazil. They are here on behalf of the International Leaders in Education Program. An initiative of the U.S. Department of State, ILEP helps gifted secondary school teachers from around the world develop expertise in their subject areas and increase their knowledge of the United States.
At Saint Rose, State Department ILEP fellows live on campus and audit a collection of classes in the Thelma P. Lally School of Education. Over the course of the semester they will do extensive fieldwork in local secondary schools, get to know a local family and visit Boston and New York City. Within two weeks of their arrival the group had already met Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and run into Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the state Capitol, who apologized for being in shirtsleeves, then posed for photographs.
The program is one of many efforts unfolding to meet the goal President David Szczerbacki set to build a more international community between Madison and Western avenues.
“The benefits are multiple,” said John Falco, director of the College’s Institute for New Era Educational Leadership and Innovation, which oversees the ILEP program. “I think it is an opportunity for Saint Rose to do what it does best; educate teachers. The other piece is what they bring in their perspective and participation in classes. It is very exciting for all of us.”
Not only that, but when the teachers go home to Morocco and Uganda they are bound to let their students know about Saint Rose.
To learn more about about the 15 teachers and their first impressions of American college life, we joined the international teachers in a recent class in Room 032 of the Lally school. Click here for excerpts of the discussion.