3 Different Countries, One Teacher

Travel and Teach in One Day


Photo by Sarah Kantola

By: Sarah Kantola, Reporter

English teacher Becky Prebble used to walk the Kaneland halls as a student like many other staff members here. However, most of them didn’t teach in Egypt and England before coming back to Kaneland.

Prebble taught abroad for six years; three in Guildford, England and three in Cairo, Egypt. Now she is back in the United States teaching. In all three countries, she taught English. She had always wanted to study abroad in college but as a college soccer player she wasn’t able to.

When she originally decided to be a teacher she hadn’t really considered teaching abroad. Teaching jobs were getting harder to come by so she had to think outside the box.

“I graduated college in the middle of the recession and everyone wanted to be a teacher so one day I just randomly searched teaching abroad and found an organization that sent teachers all over. The whole process took about a week,” Prebble said.

Although the move was a big adjustment, Prebble could still see some similarities the countries shared.

“You know kids are still kids, they don’t love coming to school. Socially you still go out with friends at night and work during the day,” Prebble said.

While teaching in England, she met her husband, Matt Prebble, at a College High School.

“[We were] Standing in line for coffee at the first institute day of the year at Kings College High School, Guildford in the UK. At the time, I didn’t drink coffee,” Matt Prebble said.

Matt Prebble is also a teacher that dreamed of one day going abroad.

“I love traveling. I took a year out and traveled around about a dozen countries before I started teaching. So, I got to combine my passion for travel with a job I enjoy too,” Matt Prebble said.

The couple eventually travelled to Egypt together to teach and were greeted with greater lifestyle changes.

“[When] Moving to Egypt, there were a lot of adjustments- language, culture, food, climate. Basically, everything,” Matt Prebble said.

When Becky Prebble was in Egypt she was reunited with a teacher she had met briefly in England named Scott Allsop. Allsop also decided to teach abroad out of his desire to travel.

“Although teacher pay isn’t terrible and we get long vacations, we are confined by school terms and so we can’t take advantage of ‘cheap deals’ when we’re meant to be teaching. My wife and I wanted to experience another culture and so working within it made perfect sense,” Allsop said.

When Allsop moved to Egypt, he could relate to some of the problems Becky and Matt Prebble were having.

“You obviously have to adapt to the cultural shifts, which may be as simple as the time that shops open, how late they’re open or different working weeks. In Egypt, for example, we worked Sunday through Thursday and our weekend was Friday through Saturday. There are also different cultural expectations of teachers and grades, so trying to maintain a ‘home’ standard is more challenging,” Allsop said.

Even without the culture change Becky Prebble still felt a shift both times she moved.

“[Moving was] A lot harder than I thought. When I went to England, there were a lot of differences in the school day, grade and curriculum,” Becky Prebble said.

Even outside her teaching differences, there were struggles. Being homesick was one of her biggest challenges since she didn’t come home for six years except for holidays or special occasions.

“I missed weddings and my best friends first kid being born. It was hard to miss big milestones,” Becky Prebble said.

Although there were hardships, Becky Prebble still feels she has ultimately gained from her experiences teaching abroad and encourages others to do the same.

“I have a broader outlook on different cultures and travel is more important to me. Everyone should travel. Study abroad, do something,” Becky Prebble said.