7. Presentations, Celebrations and Goodbyes
“Country Roads, Take me Home, to the Place I Belong“
- - John Denver
Time flies. Four months had gone before I really had realized it, and it was time to present our inquiry projects which we had been doing during the fall. Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) is an old, beautiful building on the Indiana University Campus and in Walnut Room we heard presentations on topics from all over the world: how to teach deaf students in Botswana, or visually impaired in Morocco? How to prevent students not to drop-out in New Zealand or how to implement project-based learning in Taiwan?
My inquiry project was about learner-centered teaching methods. The goal of my project was to learn which learner-centered teaching methods used by the U.S. secondary education teachers have proved successful in enhancing student engagement and motivation. I described 14 learner-centered teaching methods and gave instructions how to use these methods. I provided a template for sharing teaching methods among teachers. Together they form a Toolkit for secondary education teachers. In addition to that, I created a protocol of a Fair Share workshop for sharing teaching methods in a school. This material is free to use and it can be downloaded from my website tarjamykra.weebly.com
After two days of presentations it was time to receive our certificates. It was a memorable moment, full of joy and at the same time sadness in the air. The representative of the United States Department of State handed our Fulbright certificates and CIEDR from Indiana University handed us certificates of studies as part of Fulbright Program. So much learning, experiences, new ideas, great people and a lot of work was behind these two certificates. For the last time, official pictures were taken of Fulbright Teachers as a group. Some of the pictures were more professional than the others...
We met a lot of people during our stay in Bloomington, Indiana. Now it was time to say goodbye to everyone. We said goodbyes to our host teachers at the local high school, we went for a farewell dinner with CIEDR staff who had taken care of us for the past four months, and we said goodbyes to our host families in Bloomington World Wide Friends (my host family below). So many goodbyes in three days, so many good memories, so many amazing moments to memorize. Sometimes we couldn´t help getting a bit emotional, but it is a natural part of saying goodbyes.
David from New Zealand and Edmund from Singapore play guitar well and in many evenings we sang songs at our Evermann Apartments. The Beatles was absolutely our favorite: Hey Jude, All You Need is Love, Imagine, Yellow Submarine… And we danced! It was so fun! We got a chance to play one song at a local pub in our last evening. We gathered at Players Pub, played and sang “Country Roads” by John Denver: “Country Roads, take me home, to the place I belong”.
It is time to return home. Oh, but before that, Florida! After a vacation I think I am ready to return to my “real life” in Finland. However, I wouldn´t mind doing something like this again in the future. This is the end of this blog. I was so privileged to have this great opportunity, which made my long term dream come true. I want to thank everyone I met in the U.S., I will never forget you. Let´s keep in touch.
Ps. Sorry about all the mistakes I made with grammar, prepositions, articles etc. while I was writing this blog. It would have been so much easier to write it in Finnish, but I decided not to do it. When I was struggling with words, prepositions and articles, it reminded me constantly the power and meaning of learning.