Student jumps into field experience at its finest

University of Northern Iowa education students spend many hours in Iowa's classrooms getting hands-on experience. UNI student Amy Martens' experiences took her all the way to Cairo, Egypt.

MartensMartens recalled her 60-hour trip to Cairo where she was welcomed with a hug by her principal and supervisor from the Cairo American College. There, she started her semester-long journey as an overseas student teacher. "So, I'm part of the class of 2010 at UNI and CAC," she said.

Leigh Martin, coordinator for UNI's student teaching program said, "Student teaching will really start your career; it is the a teacher, you're a person too. The more experience you get the more you can impact the students that walk into your classroom."

Engaging in this rare cultural adventure, students work in mostly American-curriculum schools, experiencing developing nations with increasingly diverse populations of students.

"There are multiple nationalities, languages and religions and the majority are speaking in one language and learning in English," said Martin.

"I can get by without Arabic, but it's paining me to speak English constantly so I'm going to see what I can do about using more Arabic," Martens commented in her blog.

"Week one is off to a great start," blogs Martens. "I absolutely love the middle school kids. I taught block printmaking this morning. One hour and 25 minutes all on my own with high schoolers. I must say it went quite well; I was relieved. Fingers crossed this is a trend that continues."

"It's been a weekend full of relationship building. CAC emphasizes this in the classroom constantly... 'You can't teach a student you don't know.' But for me, it's so important to build relationships in every part of my life to feel 'me', to feel at home and really hone into who I am and how I function day to day."

Martin, who went through the program as a student at UNI and student taught at CAC, said she learned a lot from the experience. "I wouldn't be here doing what I do now if I hadn't done that. I realized that the world is a lot more similar than it is different and what is different is not wrong."

"I must say I love this international teaching thing," Martens said. "Last night the PE teacher and I were talking when he made the comment, 'once international teaching is in your blood, it's practically genetic and there to stay.' I think he's right."

For an inside look into Amy's experiences and adventures in Cairo, check out her blog.


teaching pyramids overlooking
Martens taught E Block printmaking to high school students students for the first time during her field experience overseas in Cairo, Egypt. Martens took time out of her busy teaching schedule to explore and take some photos to remember her field experience.

Amy Martens looks out from the top of the Administrative building for a view of the Cairo American College. The art building (far left), health building (middle) and elementary school (right) are places Martens spends during her semester in Cairo, Egypt.