Nisley teacher headed to Australia
Theresa Drewer is on an adventure.
The 32-year-old Nisley Elementary School teacher left last weekend for Australia, where she will spend the next 54 weeks in a teacher exchange program.
She will teach a fourth-grade class in the small town of Korumburra, which is about a 90-minute drive southeast of Melbourne.
A Korumburra teacher named Candice Huntly will take over Drewer’s classroom at Nisley for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year and for the first semester of the 2013-14 school year.
The Colorado International Teacher Exchange League program in which Drewer is participating swaps teachers between the United States and Australia, following the January through December Australian school calendar.
Drewer’s new students will begin a new school year Jan. 30 after a six-week summer (seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere nation).
Drewer plans to travel during the three two-week breaks students and teachers will have throughout the rest of the 2013 school year.
The largely affluent school will be a change of pace for Drewer. She hopes to learn new things about teaching in a different culture after seven years at Nisley.
The Greeley native graduated last winter from Colorado Mesa University’s master’s program for teaching English to speakers of other languages and also wants to use her first experience traveling outside the country on her own as a potential stepping stone toward gaining the confidence to try teaching English in a non-English-speaking country someday.
“I’m looking forward to the risk and the challenge of doing something completely independent,” she said.
She has visited Mexico and backpacked through Europe with companions and felt Australians were some of the friendliest tourists she met in Europe.
She also picked Australia for her first exchange experience for its breadth of outdoor activities.
Drewer said she saw a notice in October 2011 about a teacher exchange program information meeting in an online posting through District 51 and decided to learn more.
Two months after the meeting, she applied for the exchange program and convinced her principal and district leaders to let her give it a try.
As much as she wants to grow personally from the experience, she hopes it also has a lasting impact on her students at Nisley.
“I know these kids will have such a great experience” interacting with a teacher from another country, Drewer said.
“Some of my kids have never been outside Colorado,” Drewer said.