High school teachers swap jobs

 In Community

Creemore resident Kathy Belcourt is trading in her galoshes for sandals as she prepares to step into the shoes of another teacher, on the other side of the globe. 

Belcourt is flying off to Canberra, Australia to take part in a teacher exchange. 

Her counterpart Julie Ward has just arrived in Creemore, after having flown into Vancouver to travel cross-country by train. She arrived to -400 temperatures, a bit of a rude welcome. 

Both Belcourt and Ward are English teachers. 

Ward will be stepping into Belcourt’s role at Banting Memorial High School in Alliston, and Belcourt will be teaching at Marist College, during the one-year exchange. 

Ward said she was interested in an exchange because of the opportunity to travel and live somewhere that is so different from Canberra, the capital city of more than 410,000.

“It offers huge professional development opportunities by going to another school, with different students and a different curriculum. And there are opportunities to learn from other teachers,” said Ward. 

Belcourt participated in an exchange to Australia in 2006 and said it was the best year.

“You walk around with eyes wide open,” she said about the sights and the sounds. “Everything is different. All your senses are awakened.”

On her past exchange, Belcourt said she travelled 55,000 km by land and plans to take advantage of every opportunity again this trip. She also plans to have some quality time with her husband and travel partner, Paul. 

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