Grant proves to be another success in the “Global Gateway” program
by Kyle Mills
In July, students at Sun Valley Elementary were introduced to a new teacher by the name of Stacey Grant.
Grant, who hails from Toronto, Canada, came to Sun Valley for the “Global Gateway” project as part of Visiting International Faculty, a program that seeks to increase globalization and cultural awareness to students.
“I love the idea that we’re taking on teachers from across the world,” Grant said. “It makes the idea of global thinking more practical.”
Grant, who moved from Canada to the United Kingdom and now to the US, says that while there are a number of differences, the training and teaching styles are rather similar.
“I lived in Canada, then in Great Britain and there is not much different as far as teaching here because we always want the best for our students,” Grant said. “The professionals in Union County are forward thinkers and very highly effective.”
Grant said she enjoys spending the holidays in a new area and learning the different cultural processes.
“I’m really embracing how they do Thanksgiving here,” Grant said. “I miss home, too, but that’s because home is just that, home.”
When asked if she planned on teaching in VIF programs for a long period of time, or working towards tenure at a specific location, Grant wasn’t too entirely sure.
“I’ve taught in three different countries and enjoyed every one of them,” Grant said. “I’m not sure of my plans just yet.”
Under the current VIF contract, teacher are allowed to stay at the chosen school for up to five years, something Grant aims to do at Sun Valley.
Along with teaching, Grant is currently the VIF lead for Union County as well as part of the VIF program on the school level. She stated that she enjoys participating in these programs to inform the faculty and community alike of issues surrounding cultural awareness.
“These different activities that we do help to expose teachers to new information that helps to enhance their lessons,” Grant said. “It’s certainly a profound experience.”
Terri Cooper, principal of Sun Valley Elementary, enjoyed the process and said that it, along with Grant, has been a great addition to the school.
“(The program) really prepares students to be 21st century learners and thinkers,” Cooper said. “There are a number of things that these teachers do to promote globalization and awareness as well as teach full-time.”
Cooper states that the process by which the teachers are found is a lengthy one including over four interviews including a Skype call and various conversations with other faculty members.
“We want to make sure that we make the right decisions about these teachers,” Cooper said.
The teachers can come from various backgrounds. Some of the teachers come directly out of college, but others have been teaching for a very long period of time. Cooper thinks that the different types of teachers can bring a lot to creating a better school.
“The teachers we received have mixed experience,” Cooper said. “It promotes cultural awareness and globalization.”
Sun Valley Elementary currently has one other VIF teacher working at the school who is from the Philippines and has had all positive feedback from this teacher, as well.
Currently, Union County is one of the leading counties in implementing the VIF program, but Cooper hopes that it will spread to other counties and promote the cultural awareness that is so important to students today. It is currently being endorsed by a number of superintendents on the district level with hopes of becoming more common in schools.
“It is a wonderful program that has worked very well for us and makes students aware of a number of new things,” Cooper said. “It is working out so well that I hope it can continue.”
Both parties have been extremely grateful for the program.
“Stacey has been a great asset to the team and school,” Cooper said. “She has worked well with the team and they love her.”
“I am extremely grateful for the experience I have been given,” Grant said. “Many thanks to Union County and the professionals.”