Sheonne Carter Shares Teach Abroad Experience on Education Podcast
Since arriving in the USA, Jamaican special education teacher Sheonne Carter has made a name for herself through her community outreach. She hosted several webinars and trainings in both her new community and her home country on a variety of issues impacting special education, including how to manage virtual learning during the pandemic. But her most recent online appearance gave her a chance to speak on a more personal topic.
The South Carolina Association for Middle Level Education (SCAMLE) podcast, ExplorED, invited Carter to discuss her experience as an international teacher at W.A. Perry Middle School in Columbia, South Carolina. Throughout the interview, she remained vulnerable and open in talking about the challenges she has faced in adjusting to teaching a new population of students from a culture that is in some ways very different from her home country. She described the “total shift” from what she knew in Jamaica versus what she saw in South Carolina, touching on differences in classroom management, student behavior, and parental involvement.
"I just want to effect change in any way possible. I’m empowering myself to go back home, so I can empower others."
But in spite of, and often because of, these obstacles, Carter said, “The experiences have been wonderful. In terms of my development, and not just my development but our development as teachers here, it has been amazing.” She spoke on the emotional-learning skills she has had to develop to reach her US students, which has also inspired her to create more engaging lesson plans.
Ultimately, Carter sees these new interpersonal teaching strategies as something that she will take with her and share with others as she returns to Jamaica. After seeing the US special education system, she also wishes to advocate for her home country to better prioritize special education in schools. “I just want to effect change in any way possible,” she said. “I’m empowering myself to go back home, so I can empower others.”
A firm believer in positivity and a growth mindset, Carter finds opportunity in every experience. She takes everything in stride and encourages others to do the same. When asked what advice she might give to others facing similar challenges in the classroom, she responded, “It is well, and it will be well.”
“Once we do what we are able to do,” she said, “it should be well.”
You can listen to all of the SCAMLE's ExplorED podcast episodes on their website: https://scamle.org/