He believes he learned more from the experience than Ukrainian students and teachers learned from him.
Glen Young, an English and advanced placement literature teacher at Petoskey High School recently traveled to Lutsk, Ukraine from March 15-26, as part of a teacher exchange program.
Young, 48, was selected last fall by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State and International Research and Exchanges Board to be one of 40 teachers from across the United States to participate in a two-way exchange program to promote professional development in education.
Those selected for the exchange were sent to 18 countries throughout the world, including the Caucasus, South and Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Young was sent to Lutsk, a city populated by more than 200,000 people in the northwest part of Ukraine.
While there, Young spent a majority of his time meeting and conversing in English with students in forms (grades) second through 11th in Gymnasium 18 — one of 20 schools in the city.
“Gymnasium 18 is a school that emphasizes foreign language; English and Russian being their primary foreign language,” he said. “Other schools concentrate on math and science.”
Young said he was surprised to learn that students in Lutsk had begun learning English in first- or second-form (grade).
“Their students seemed more motivated to learn foreign language than our students — we essentially expect to teach our students foreign language, but (Ukrainians) put a premium on mastering it,” he said.
During his nine days at Gymnasium 18, Young said, rather than have him teach lessons, Ukrainian instructors had him converse with students.