Teacher waits to cross the big pond

Published on Thu, Feb 21, 2002
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Teacher waits to cross the big pond

Blaine high school teacher Jeff Worthy has been chosen for the prestigious Fulbright teachers’ exchange program. Now all he has to do is wait.

“We’re chosen on our end and I feel good about that. It’s a very competitive process,” Worthy said. “Now it’s up to the state department to find us a match in the United Kingdom.”

Worthy applied to the U.S. Department of State program in the spring, describing why he wanted to spend a year teaching in the U.K., what he would bring to his new class there and what he would bring back to his students in Blaine. “It all comes back to this classroom,” he said. “The history and literature of Britain is a lot of what I teach. To be able to say ‘I’ve been there. I’ve stood in Stratford. I’ve felt the power and passion of the place.’ That’s infectious to kids. It helps them get what they can’t out of a textbook.”

After an interview in Seattle this fall, Worthy learned that he had been accepted for the 2002/2003 school year. He will learn by this spring if an exchange position in the U.S. could be found. “It’s probably about a 50 percent chance,” he said. While program organizers encourage all successful applicants to keep trying if they aren’t placed, Worthy said it was now or never for his family. “This is really our window of opportunity,” he said. His wife, a former teacher, and son, who will be two in the fall, would move with him and trade places with a teacher and family from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

Worthy said he hopes to forge links between his host school and Blaine that will outlast his stay there, perhaps setting up a pen pal program. “The primary opportunity with this is to open communication with other communities and other countries,” he said. “This program was founded on increasing understanding and communication between people and cultures. I don’t think there ever was a better time for that.” .

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