By Samantha Dyck-Gamble, first-year Creative Communications
When sisters Nadya and Fatma Schewczyk found out their family was moving to Canada, they didn’t waste any time. The two immediately began to research schools that would allow them to continue their education.
Nadya and Fatma currently study Business/Technology Teacher Education at Red River College.
“The immigration to Canada should be the continuation of my career,” said Fatma.
Growing up in Germany, the two moved around a lot with their family. “My birth place is Bonn but we lived in many German cities — such as Hannover. The last one was Bremen,” said Nadya, before expressing her love for the breathtaking city in northwestern Germany.
After graduating from high school, Nadya and Fatma entered the teacher education program at the University of Bremen where they studied a combination of technology, business, economics and home economics. It was at the University of Bremen where Fatma and Nadya began to balance life as a teacher and as a student.
“During my entire bachelor study, I taught in an elementary school,” explained Fatma, who also worked as a student assistant for the Center of Excellence: Woman in Science and Technology at the University of Bremen from 2009 to 2010. “My responsibility as a student assistant was to lead a robotics course at the Hermannsburg High School. With the technology of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Education, I taught students from 12 to 14 years to design, program and control robots that carry out life-like automated tasks.”
Nadya taught a robotic course at Roland zu Bremen Oberschule in Bremen.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts, Nadya and Fatma began their masters but did not finish. On March 23, 2010 — in the middle of their studies — they moved to Canada with their family. The two prepared the best they could by enrolling in a joint-degree program between the University of Winnipeg and Red River College that would allow them to continue teaching.
“We did the whole application process in Germany and got help from an organization called IEC (International Education for Global Minds) who actually organizes the application process for international students abroad,” said Nadya.
“I was looking for a teacher education program similar to my past study,” added Fatma. “To become a teacher that is specialized in technology sparks my interest.”
Five months and one week after arriving in Canada, the pair started at Red River College.
“The first term was pretty tough for us. I had to make many adjustments from what I was used to from my previous university with regards to learning/teaching styles,” said Nadya. “For example, the University of Bremen just has two terms and we don’t write midterm exams. All final exams are 100% exams and we didn’t have to buy super-expensive textbooks and carry them with us.”
“The teacher education program at Red River College is very hands-on and focuses on real life topics that I really feel prepared to teach,” said Fatma.“ I learned how to create my PLN (personal learning network), and my educational blog.”
Now in their last semester at Red River College, Nadya and Fatma teach on the weekends and learn during the week. They both work as German instructors for the organization Manitobans for German Language Education. Fatma teaches children between grades three and five.
“I love to integrate technology in my teaching. I created a class wiki where I present students projects. It’s like my online classroom,” said Fatma. “Nowadays, technology is changing all the time and it is important to have teachers who are qualified in using technology and can teach students to become good digital citizens.”
Nadya teaches grade eight students on Saturday mornings and on Thursday evenings she teaches a German beginner class for adults. Like her sister she also loves to include technology in her class. Nadya said: “I include lots of technology in my class. I try to implement all the nice things that I learn in the college into my language arts class to create an innovative, attractive learning environment for the students.”