Elementary Education Major Chooses Australia as her Dream Semester Destination
Johnelle Galimore ‘18 hopes to teach in different places around the world, and she made her first stop on the Gold Coast in Australia this fall.
“All elementary education majors are required to do their final semester internship at a local, national or international Christian school,” explained Dr. Chelly Templeton, dean for the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. “Johnelle, along with three other elementary education majors chose The Southport School in Queensland, Australia for their final ‘dream’ semester.”
The three teaching interns taught in the primary grades at an all-boys, private school. And as for Galimore, she says her time in Australia “will be an experience that I’ll look back on with gratitude and fondness.”
Galimore believes that everyone has the right to an education. As a future primary school teacher, she hopes to be able to provide a solid foundation for her students, not just in book smarts, but in all aspects of life.
“Teachers are given the amazing opportunity to teach social and emotional skills along with the curriculum that students must learn,” said Galimore, an elementary education major with a minor in exceptional student education from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
“As teachers show virtues like patience, kindness, and forgiveness in the classroom, students are able to develop these and put them into use in all aspects of their daily lives.”
Teaching in another country and in a first grade class with 20 boys ages six and seven was not always easy. It challenged her teaching skills, but she was determined to learn how different students learn in various ways and at various levels.
“I definitely saw some of the difficult aspects of being a primary school teacher,” she said. “Students are tired and irritable and often unable to concentrate at all for many different reasons. Despite that, I was able to see the sweet sides of teaching, like receiving little notes from students, hearing about how they were able to use problem solving strategies independently and seeing small successes in and out of the classroom.”
Being so far from everything and everyone she knew was another major challenge she faced. “So many things were different than I had ever experienced and that required a huge adjustment, but I knew that God had sent me to Australia for a reason and that he didn’t just ship me off with no support,” said Galimore, who was grateful to have friends alongside her and to have made new friends who were kind and helpful in overcoming these challenges.
Tests and trials promote learning, and who would know that better than a teacher? Galimore has been learning this lesson way before she decided to become one. According to her, she is a product of her environment. Her parents both work for the military and so the family moved quite a bit when she was younger.
“My parents raised me to be strong and independent and to work hard for the things that I want,” she said. “I think that my background has made me a more adaptable and passionate person. It has allowed me to make decisions that are scary, because I know that I can conquer any fears I may have.”
Looking back, Galimore is thankful for the time she spent at PBA, as it has helped her to prepare for her future career as a primary teacher and for her next step in life. “Moving to PBA, leading the Africa Trek, working on Residence Life and Steering Committee are all decisions I made that made my acceptance into the Peace Corps possible,” she said, as she now looks to the future. “I am excited to be joining the Peace Corps for a two-year commitment to teach English in China.”