Grade school teacher taking overseas sabbatical
By Brian L. Gray
After four years of teaching in Mandan, Annie Beck has chosen to educate students in an environment wholly different than where she works now.
Beck, who teaches fourth grade at Fort Lincoln Elementary School, will be taking a one-year sabbatical from her teaching position to become a teacher in Morocco.
Beck will be teaching in the city of Marrakesh, at a school called the American School of Marrakesh, which teaches an American curriculum to its students. While there, Beck will be teaching the same courses she does here in Mandan. She will be educating an upper elementary class of about 17 to 20 students, and will be teaching her students in the English language.
Beck learned of the teaching opportunity while searching online. A website, TIEonline.com, connected her with several international schools looking for American teachers. She considered jobs along the coastal areas of South America, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, among other areas of the world before settling on Morocco. “I was up for anything, however, and applied to many different schools in multiple countries,” she says.
After learning more about the teaching program offered in Morocco, Beck finally chose her sabbatical location. She says she has traveled to a few international cities before, including Paris, but has never been to Africa before.
Beck says she is excited to experience a new area of the world. “Exploring new cultures is always a thrill,” she says. “I am looking forward to learning more about the traditions, history, geography, food, music and all other aspects of Moroccan culture. I am also excited to be working with students who are having an international education and to bring that experience back to future positions I will hold back here.”
Beck, who is originally from Mandan, graduated from St. Mary’s Central High School in 2002. From there she graduated with a degree in elementary education from the University of North Dakota. Knowing she wanted to eventually return home, Beck first moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., where she taught fourth grade for three years. Following her time there, Beck felt it was time to return home, and began teaching at Fort Lincoln.
Beck has been considering teaching abroad since college, but the opportunity to do so has not come until now.
“I’ve always loved traveling, and I believe living abroad, rather than just visiting an area, will be an even richer experience,” she says.
It is those very experiences that inspired her to become an educator. “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade, or maybe even earlier,” she says. “For me, there is no greater thrill than helping to instill a love of learning in a student and seeing a face light up as a new discovery is made.”