American scholarship helps Suffolk teacher reflect on education system

A Haverhill teacher has been given a close-up view of the American education system after a scholarship in Nevada.

Becky Baldwin, a specialist lead educator at Castle Manor Academy, recently visited Nevada as part of a scholarship to look at learning outside of the classroom and to challenge the perceptions of Las Vegas.

She is now planning to use her experiences, which included shadowing students at a middle school and volunteering at an animal sanctuary which offered school visits.

Reflecting on the scholarship, Becky said: “The trip helped me think about my own teaching style and strengths.

“I wanted to come back with some good ideas and develop them in my own school. I have also come back refreshed and energised.

“I’ve been teaching for 20 years and as teachers, we need time just to watch and think.

“This trip made me feel reassured that the challenges faced by teachers are worldwide and that I’m doing a good job and I’m valued as a teacher and a tutor.”

The trip was part of the Walter Hines Page Scholarship, which offers teachers the opportunity to study a specific aspect of education which interests them and is relevant to their job.

Becky, who was joined on the trip by her daughter Ami, a Year 7 student at Castle Manor, visited the 1,700-pupil Anthony Saville Middle School which provides its pupils with a number of opportunities for learning outside the classroom.

She said: “I learnt a lot from shadowing students at the school. Most of all, I learn that our UK students are very fortunate to have the opportunities and freedoms they have.

“When I got back, I spoke to my pupils at Castle Manor about the trip and they felt lucky to have regular access to open spaces and educational visits to support the curriculum.”

The trip was organised by the English Speaking Union (ESU), a programme which aims to promote the exchange of ideas, understanding and knowledge between Britain and the US.