Jacqueline Baril ’15 (ED), ’16 MA spent the fall semester of her master’s year in England as part of the Neag School’s Study Abroad Teaching Internship Program. In England, Baril taught at Roxeth Primary School, a highly diverse, multifaith school in suburban London, where about 40 different languages are spoken by the student body. Baril is a graduate of the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program; she currently serves as a literacy intervention and math enrichment intern at Willington Center School in Willington, Conn.
Hometown: Monroe, Conn.
Concentration: Elementary education, Mathematics
You had studied abroad previously in Italy. Why did you decide to apply for this London Teaching Internship program? “I was interested in coming because you just get an experience that you never would have before — being able to come to a different country and see how they teach, see their perspective, which is very different than ours. Here, they can teach about other cultures and religion.”
What else has been different about teaching in classrooms in the U.K.? “I think the teaching style is different; they are more strict. … They have a pretty strict behavior policy, where if you do this, that’s a warning, and if you do this, then you’re missing recess. And it’s expected, so the kids know. It’s more consistent throughout the school, whereas at home [in the U.S.], every teacher might have something different that they do.”
How is this experience in London different from your time in Italy? “The first time I was [abroad], I took general education classes, and you kind of had more free time to explore and do what you want. But here [in London], it’s more focused around education; we are doing our internship and we’re taking classes focused on teaching. I got a lot more out of this program.”
“I’ve heard kids here, say, ‘Please don’t say that; that’s a racist comment. That’s inappropriate.’ And that floors me.” Jacqueline Baril ’15 (ED), ’16 MA
What are you most proud of having accomplished during your semester in London? “I worked with an ELL student from Romania. He is pretty fluent with English, but he didn’t know any of the procedures of the school or anyone in the school. And it was really nice to come in during his first few weeks and work consistently with him on English in his classes. I built a really great relationship with him. It’s been just a great process of growth, and it’s just amazing to see.”
How do you think this experience has shaped you for your career going forward? “I’m really glad that the Neag School has this program for master’s students, because the master’s year, I feel like, is supposed to be something that will benefit us as teachers. I feel like it’s that extra layer that gives you an edge. This program definitely gives you that competence and experience to be able to go back and impact your students in a different way; it gives you a different mindset that helps you culturally.”
What’s one takeaway from your time in London that you will carry with you? “The exposure to different cultures. Just experiencing that firsthand. You can talk about it all you want in the States, but what does that mean until you see it in a school? Living through it here is something that really makes you understand what that means. [The students here] understand other cultures because they are learning about them, and because they have real conversations at the lunch table about how they practice religion, and why they’re dressing a certain way, and how their family celebrates certain things. … I’ve heard kids here, say, ‘Please don’t say that; that’s a racist comment. That’s inappropriate.’ And that floors me. It really is something you have to experience. That’s why this program has been so meaningful.”