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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Education has no borders

New London native moves to El Salvador to teach
By Gretchen Teske, Golden Triangle News Service | Jul 11, 2018
Photo by: Photo by Baylee Lindell In March, Baylee visited the city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City.

Baylee Lindell always wanted to travel. So much so, she wanted to be a pilot. During school, she discovered a love for history she was unaware she had and decided to be a teacher instead. After five months of student-teaching in Mumbai, India, Baylee is ready for a more permanent teaching position in El Salvador.

“I’ve always liked helping people and having those qualities,” she said. “For a while I wanted to be a pilot, then a physical therapist, then I was undecided.” After graduating from New London High School, Lindell attended junior college at Indian Hills and took a history class with a professor who would change her life. He encouraged her love of history and she soon discovered she also loved teaching. Although teaching would confine her to a classroom, Lindell did not want to be confined to the walls of classroom for the rest of her life, so she began looking for ways to travel.

When she transferred to the University of Northern Iowa, she decided to apply for a semester abroad. She’d been abroad with the school before, but only for short trips. Lindell was accepted into the overseas student teaching program and placed at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India. The program offered a variety of places but India was at the top of her list because it came highly recommended by a friend in the program. In total she spent 19 weeks in India, with 16 of them making up the student teaching process.

Before she could be accepted, Lindell had to write essays, build a website to market herself, meet with a coordinator and have a Skype interview with her new school. The American School of Bombay is a school for English-speaking students from elementary school to high school. Most students attending have been relocated because of parents taking international jobs. In Mumbai, Samsung recently opened a factory which brought on the need for English-speaking teachers. In total the students came from over 36 different countries.

Initially, Lindell thought she wanted to teach high-schoolers, but after spending eight weeks teaching social studies to sixth, seventh and eighth-graders, she began to change her mind. “I loved them both, they’re both just very different,” she said. “I kind of went into it thinking high school was where I wanted to be but then I had these amazing middle-schoolers.”

Discovering she had a passion for teaching young students was not the only discovery she made during her semester. She says the biggest difference she noticed in her new town was the commotion. “The noise was the biggest culture shock I had to get used to,” she said. Coming from New London, she was not used to dogs barking, horns blaring and people wandering the streets. She said language was also a barrier for her because although the official language of Mumbai is English, most people speak Hindi.

She and her roommate lived in an apartment and had to use Uber to get around. She said that often times the drivers would leave because they did not understand her and she did not understand them. “Sometimes getting around was really hard,” she said. However, one of her favorite stories is the time an English-speaking woman offered to share her ride with them. “She was like our savior,” she jokes.

Lindell arrived home from her semester in May but will not be around for long. She will be relocating for her first official teaching job in El Salvador at the end of the month. While she was in Mumbai, she sent her application to several schools and ended up interviewing at three. She was offered a job in Kuwait but did not feel it was the right fit. She interviewed at another international school in Egypt, but the school required two years’ prior teaching experience and she was not eligible for the position. At last, she interviewed for the ninth-grade modern world history and current events teaching position at the International American School of El Salvador.

She is excited to begin her journey at the new school and thinks her experiences will only strengthen her abilities as a teacher. She says that by traveling and learning about different cultures through her students, she will be a benefit to students who have not had the ability gain those different perspectives. “I think my experience, or any other international teacher who comes back, won’t do anything but benefit students who have those different perspectives and ideas,” she says.

To follow Baylee, visit her Instagram: the.wanderlust.addict

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