A Great STAGE Pre-Experience Orientation
By Sheryl O’Bryan
The STAGE Pre-Experience Orientation spring 2022 took place last weekend in rural Indiana. Micah wrote to me a few weeks ago. He quickly laid out his life as an MK–grew up in Kenya, his parents served (and continue to serve) as dorm parents at an MK boarding school his whole life. Basically, he wanted me to know he spent all his growing up years at an international Christian school. I knew he was going to ask to be excused from this requirement.
Before he made his ask, he added that his parents were in town for two weekends–this one and the next, his sister’s wedding. He wanted me to excuse him from the mandatory Pre-Experience Orientation (PEO) for STAGE (Student Teaching And Global Experience). I understood his perspective. It seemed like his whole life was preparing him for his international student teaching experience
I struggled with the answer. I know how precious and rare time with family is when spread across different continents. Knowing that they only had two weeks including a wedding made the decision more difficult. I swallowed hard, and told Micah he needed to come to Indiana.
I knew my answer wouldn’t be popular with Micah or with his parents. Thankfully, they didn’t give me any push-back. In fact, I had more resistance from people who were less prepared for an international experience.
Being an MK is definitely an advantage to teaching in an international school, but there’s so much more to succeeding in international education than growing up internationally. I know Micah still has things to learn from an adult perspective. I also knew Micah’s perspective and experiences would benefit the rest of the student teachers.
Micah, his small group, and their poster synthesizing their learning at PEO.
As we discussed STAGE’s importance to the Great Commission, transition in schools, the TCK Profile, grief and loss for the TCK, and so much more, Micah and his fellow TCKs added so much richness to the training.
Micah ended the weekend saying he “found a home at PEO” because he was so understood. Another TCK concluded, “As a TCK, it was more edifying and therapeutic than informative but that was exactly what I needed.”