Turkish student teachers return to AHS

Ezgi Demitkit and Elif Llcaner are new to the high school, Ames, and the United States. But they are not students, they are student teachers! Every year, a program coordinated by Iowa State University and funded by the U.S. State Department brings student teachers from Turkey to the high school. They have the opportunity to be in a different environment and learn a different culture, while high school students can absorb part of the Turkish culture. The student teachers will be teaching at Ames High for about two months. Then, they will graduate with their Master’s Degrees in May and will try to get jobs teaching English at the high school or college level in Turkey. Demikit and Llancer decided to come to Ames High after realizing what an experience it would be. “I saw the brochure about this program, and I thought it would be a great opportunity,” Llancer said. Coming to student teach in America is not a requirement to complete student teachers’ Master’s Degrees; most student teachers stay in Turkey. It is also not that easy to travel to the U.S. and embark upon the opportunity. Both student teachers agreed they had to work hard to get here by going through exams and interviews. But it was worth the time and hard work, since they seem to be enjoying their time at Ames High. Llancer has enjoyed getting close to the students, while Demikit loves absorbing the differences she sees between America and Turkey, around her. “Most is the same between high schools here and in Turkey, but there are little things that are different,” Demikit said. “For example, most high schools in Turkey have uniforms. I think the biggest differences are just the physical appearances.” Before coming to Ames High, the student teachers were nervous about what kind of teaching environment they would be in. They were glad to find a mentor, English teacher Cecilia Horner, who encourages them every step of the way. “She is like an angel,” Llancer said. Horner said she is happy to have the Turkish student teachers with her, and she is looking forward to the summer when she can visit them in Turkey. While here, the Turkish student teachers would like to educate Ames High about their country. There will be a Turkey Day on March 2 at Ames High. It will not be a celebration of Thanksgiving again, but a day to learn more about Turkey’s culture. The student teachers will put it together, and Ames High’s students and staff are invited to attend.