Julia Lachut ’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, she taught students at Rooks Heath, a multicultural school in London with about 1,000 students ages 11 to 18. Lachut is a graduate of the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program; she now serves as a third-grade teacher at Goodwin Elementary School in Mansfield, Conn.
Hometown: Tolland, Conn.
Concentration: Elementary education
You had studied abroad in England previously, as an undergrad. How has this experience compared with the last time you were here? “Coming back again, it was an easier adjustment for me. I feel like I’ve not only lived abroad, I’ve actually been immersed in the culture. And I understand more about the education system here, and can now bring back certain aspects that I like from the U.K. to the U.S.”
What kinds of ideas will you bring back? “Definitely the whole acceptance of different cultures. Your own classroom culture is a composite of all of these different, unique people. In this class alone [at Rooks Heath], the students were from Afghanistan, Romania, Turkey, Iraq. I know that if I have a new student come in, wherever he’s from, that we’ll want to learn all about him, and really try to welcome him into our environment. You realize how small you are in this big world.”
How has the Neag School supported you throughout your time abroad, and leading up to it? “The professors can really relate. The experience they’ve had they try to implement throughout their teaching and really put things in perspective for us. You look up to them. And the amount of [teaching] experience we get before we start our career, I feel that I am 100 percent ready to start my own classroom. There aren’t nerves, like there was in the beginning, before [coming to] the Neag School.”
Where do you hope to go in the future with your teaching career? “I want to start teaching in Connecticut. But the school does not matter — urban or suburban. I feel I could adapt in both settings now. … I always thought I wanted [to teach] younger elementary school, and then after student teaching with fifth grade, and now here [in London] at the secondary level, it’s actually made me want to pursue a higher, upper elementary, and the math concentration. I’m shy two credits that I’m willing to pursue when I get back, just to have the extra certification.”
“You realize how small you are in this big world.” Julie Lachet ’15 (ED), ’16 MA
What are you most proud of having accomplished as a student in the Neag School? “I think getting into the Neag School program I am the most proud of. And then getting accepted to this London program, I was extremely happy that I was accepted.”
Do you have any advice to offer for someone considering a career in education? “If you have a passion for helping others and trying to make the world a better place, then education is definitely the route to go, especially in this crazy world right now. And specifically in the Neag School, it’s just as much experience as possible being a leader. That’s what this year is all about — going from a student, to a teacher, to now a leader.”