International Sabbatical & Teaching Placements Life-Changing for Professor and Students

by Dr. Robert Michael Smith, Ph. D on October 27, 2015

Dr. Mike Smith is an associate professor of education. He spent the past year on sabbatical in Thailand.

The primary objectives of my sabbatical:

  • The development of international student-teaching placements with Lertlah Schools in Bangkok.
  • Research and establish international teaching opportunities for our education graduates.
  • Further existing partnerships and meet new contacts at schools and universities in Australia, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
  • Establish a recruitment base for Thai (Lertlah) students interested in undergraduate programs at NU.
  • Submit articles to international journals for publication.
  • Serve as co-editor for  JPACTe (Constructivist e-Journal), reviewing articles for the International Journal of Education and Culture and the  International Journal of TESOL and Learning.
  • Continue to review and submit proposals for AACTE, ATE, AERA, and other international conferences.

At the beginning of my sabbatical, I facilitated a three-month teaching placement for 14 NU education students  at one of three Lertlah School campuses in Bangkok. All were paid (during their first week of teaching) $1,800 cash for airfare, housed in individual air-conditioned apartments at no charge, provided with free lunches during working hours and paid a monthly stipend of $1,000. In addition, they taught in their own classrooms for 15-22 hours per week, had access to administrative and teacher support, attended a paid orientation on Thai culture at a weekend resort, were paid for all Thai holidays, and were supplied with all necessary resources and teaching materials.

All the participants felt it was a life-changing experience and a wonderful opportunity for them to travel, study and work abroad to develop their teaching skills and build an international network and resume. It is worth noting that all five students from our Toronto BPS cohort who participated in the program felt that the experience prepared them well for their student-teaching placements in Toronto the following September.

I can also attest to the benefits, as I taught English, mathematics, science, and social studies in a grade four class at Lertlah’s campus one. I gained a wealth of knowledge from this opportunity and from overseeing the NU students’ placements.

I urge students interested in teaching abroad to contact me for more information!