Susan Swaer of has been awarded a Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program grant to Mexico, and will be teaching there for a full school year starting next fall.
Swaer is one of 76 U.S. and international teachers who will travel abroad for the 2012-2013 academic year through the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program.
Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.
Greenfield Patch caught up with Swaer just before the end of the school year for this week's edition of Names in the News.
Patch: How long have you been teaching? How long have you been with the Greenfield School District? What have been some of your proudest accomplishments, aside from the Fulbright grant?
SS: Twelve years in Greenfield. My first year I taught in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Biggest accomplishment- coaching forensics and winning a team state forensics trophy.
Patch: What originally drew you to becoming a Spanish teacher, and what do you feel is the most gratifying part of teaching students another language and culture?
SS: I really enjoyed taking Spanish classes and my favorite teacher in high school was my Spanish teacher. I really enjoy traveling and meeting new people and by learning Spanish, it is an excellent way to do both. The most gratifying part of teaching a foreign language and culture is when students really immerse themselves in our content and use the language as much as possible.
Patch: Tell us about the Fulbright grant application process: When did it start? What were the qualifications? What did you have to do? And finally, what was your reaction when you learned you had been chosen?
SS: I began the extensive application process that included forms, letters of recommendation and personal narratives in October. It is an honor for me to be chosen to represent Greenfield.
Patch: Tell readers a little bit about what you will be doing in Mexico, and the exchange program.
SS: I will be teaching English as a foreign language in Tala, Mexico to middle school students.
Patch: What are you looking forward to the most with your upcoming experience, and what do you hope to accomplish while you are there?
SS: Although I have traveled to Mexico several times, I am really looking forward to a better understanding of both their language and culture. I want to learn as much a possible and share all my experiences with my students.