- Tell us a bit about yourself, how and where you grew up, and where you went to school
- What made you decide to become a teacher?
- I am the oldest of four children. My parents told us to either be a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher!!!! I chose teaching!
- How did you first hear about opportunities at NICS?
- My first trip to Southeast Asia was the summer of 2001 to an orphanage. I was on an exploration trip in a different city in May of 2002 and visited my school and interviewed with the headmaster.
- Did you speak any languages beyond English?
- No other languages at that time.
- What did your family say when you told them you were teaching in another country?
- They totally understood.... my kids never said "don't go". At that time I was caring for my elderly father, and I did say I would not move until he died. He died April 1, 2002, and I landed in Southeast Asia on April 1, 2003!!!
- What was the biggest barrier keeping you from signing on as a NICS Teacher?
- Really NO barrier... once my dad died, the doors opened!!!! I came with another company, One Challenge International and taught at my school. In 2007 I dropped the OCI connection and joined NICS.
- Did your family encourage you to go? If so what was the most encouraging thing they did?
- My family has been a huge support. My two kids and their families have been here... twice!!!
- What was your biggest fear when you first landed in your new country?
- Concerns about the language... everyone said it was so HARD.
- What was your favorite experience living in a new country?
- Everyday has been fun... talking to people... bike riding... wonderful food... sharing the FATHER with people...
- What is the funniest thing that happened to you as you acclimated to a new culture?
- I took sailing lessons the first summer here... walking my bike back to the road, I had an accident... bike and me fell in the lake!!!! Rode home wet and showered!!!
- Tell us your favorite story from teaching at your NICS school.
- One of my students told her mother "Mrs. Bannen has eyes in the back of her head... but I cannot find them!"
- What makes teaching at NICS so special?
- The children and their families... the excellence that happens... sharing HIS love...
- How did your experience with NICS help you grow as a teacher?
- I have learned so many different cultural things... become much more patient... become more open to new ideas and ways of doing things...
- What would you tell someone considering becoming a NICS teacher?
- Go for it!!!! It will change your life.
- What is the one thing a new teacher should pack for their trip?
- Any special meds that are needed.
- What is your best advice for getting used to a new culture/climate?
- Try everything... be flexible... be willing to make mistakes.
- What final words of encouragement do you have for someone considering a job with NICS?
- Explore the options... ask questions... take the risk... it is a joy to be a part of NICS.
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