It has now been a couple of weeks since I arrived back to Sweden after my week of job shadowing in Glasgow and it is time for me to summarize a fantastic week organized by Light on the Path. In Sweden, I work as an English teacher at an upper secondary school, located in a small village in the southern parts of our country. This was my first visit in Scotland, and I was curious about the everyday life and education in the country. During the autumn, our school has sent 11 students at the age of 17 to Glasgow to do internships at various workplaces through an Erasmus+ project. The school also sends teachers and headmasters for job shadowing, and now it was my turn to go.
I did not know what to expect and I was a bit nervous, but during my week in Glasgow I met a lot of friendly faces who gave me answers to my many questions. I got the opportunity to discuss and learn about education in Scotland, the Scottish accent, culture, politics and history. I participated in an English class at the English School of Glasgow and got to study how English is taught to students with English as a second language. Even though all these things are developing for me as an English teacher, the most interesting part of my week was to meet my Swedish students at their workplaces and listen to them when they used the English language.
For me, language learning is not only about being able to speak a foreign language. It is not meaningful to learn a new language if you do not intend to use it. Therefore, developing the student’s self-esteem and make them see that they all have strengths and possibilities is a part of my mission as a teacher. When I visited my students, I could tell that the experience in Glasgow not only did develop their language skills but also their personalities.
I am happy that I got the opportunity to see their growth, and I have prepared to continue that work when we are all back in the classroom again. Before they left for Glasgow, I knew that they all had the ability to make themselves understood in English if they wanted to. When they arrive back home to our classroom, they also know it. I am curious about how that will influence their language learning.
People make Glasgow. It is stated all over the town, and it is also true when it comes to my experience. The people I met made my time in Glasgow to an experience that I will never forget and they also made me a better language teacher. I returned home even more convinced that being able to communicate with other people is the key to personal growth but also to a greater cultural understanding.