Happy Australia Day

February 13, 2018
Edmonton teacher Charles Gachnang performs on the didgeridoo.

Past and present participants in the Alberta–Australia teacher exchange gathered at Barnett House on Jan. 26 to socialize and share stories about their exchange experiences.

The exchange is part of the International Education Exchange Program (IEEP) that the Alberta Teachers’ Association administers under contract to Alberta Education. That structure is under review and it’s not known how it will proceed beyond June 30, when the current contract expires.


Alberta teacher Samuel Yamamoto describes the many rewards he experienced while spending a year teaching in Australia.

Jon McIntosh of Bendigo, Australia extolls the virtues of teacher exchanges, AC/DC and the Essendon Bombers, his favourite Australian Rules football club.

What did your exchange mean to you?

Ron Jeremy
Retired, Edmonton
Participant in 1999

It was an eye opener. All of our family are now different because of our exchange to Queensland. We changed our whole outlook on what we do. We used to think that we were in a rut. When you do an exchange like that it opens your eyes and makes you realize that anything is possible.


Sue Riches
Red Deer Public
Participant in 2009

It opened up a whole new world to me, educationwise and travelwise and the human perspective. It just gave me so much more of a global outlook on what I do for a living.


Trina Ludwig
Crestwood School, Edmonton Participant in 2015

It was a really good opportunity to see teaching in a different space and in a different culture and a really good opportunity to meet other teachers. Personally it was a great experience as well. I got to visit and travel and learn a lot about that area.


Brian Sloane

Queen Elizabeth High School,
Participant in 2015

Doing the exchange was just really good for my career in general. I’d been here a long time, teaching for about 18 years, feeling kind of stagnant, looking for a change. Just seeing how other people taught, different school systems, different ways of assessment … it’s been like being a new teacher again for the last few years. It really kind of revitalized my whole career. ❚