Mark Nechanicky ’95

Posted on April 20th, 2014 by

marks-picture-for-toy.jpgMark Nechanicky, GAC ’95 Physics
University of Michigan, M.S.E Materials Science Engineering
University of Michigan, M.A. Elementary Education

Currently 4th grade teacher in Albert Lea, MN.

Last spring I was awarded one of about 30 national Fulbright Teacher Exchange awards and was matched with a fourth grade teacher, David Goodchild in England. For this entire academic year we would have been teaching each others classes. Our families would have exchanged houses and even cars.

Unfortunately, after 67 years of teacher exchanges, due to the Federal budget sequester last spring, the Fulbright Teacher Exchange program was cut last summer by the US State Department.

This fall however, I found out that the US Embassy in London was going to sponsor the 9 elementary Fulbright Teacher Exchange people to travel to the United States for two weeks. No travel was planned for their American counterparts (like me). Week 1 was spent learning about the Federal education system in Washington D.C. and the state educational system in California. The second week was spent with their American partners.

Last week I hosted my Fulbright Teacher Exchange partner, David Goodchild at my classroom. For two days we team taught my fourth grade class. For the rest of the week, my district paid to sub me out so that we could visit numerous classrooms in my school district together and discuss what we both observed from our respective backgrounds. It was a fabulous experience.

Here are three news links about the adventure:

http://www.albertleatribune.com/2014/04/from-across-the-pond-teacher-from-the-united-kingdom-visits-classroom-at-lakeview/

http://www.kaaltv.com/article/stories/s3399514.shtml

http://kimt.com/2014/04/14/foreign-exchange-teacher/

So while I did not get to participate in the year long exchange, I did get to experience and connect with David Goodchild in my home district. We have many great ideas now to try to connect our classrooms in the future.

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