Local teacher Sue Domeier recently crossed over to the other side and lived to tell about it.
That's the other side of the world -- to Taiwan to teach a different crowd of students. During the school year, Domeier teaches fifth- to eighth-grade science at Immanuel Lutheran School in East Dundee. But this summer she traded in the lab coat for a whole new role as a member of the teaching mission team from Concordia University-Wisconsin to work with kids from ages 7 to 12.
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Domeier was part of a cooperative program through Concordia University-Wisconsin headed by Michael Uden, dean of the School of Education. The new program, entitled "A Closer Look at America, All English Summer Camp" offers an American English camp experience at the Taiwan Children's Center, a local version of the YMCA. Children came from all over the second largest city in Taiwan, Tainan.
Some of the children come from at-risk home situations where grandparents are raising their grandchildren because their own parents are unable to do so. Single parent homes also supplied some of the camp's enrollment along with children in more typical two-parent homes.
Children from all kinds of socio-economic backgrounds were able to attend, providing an extraordinary experience for all. Their daily activities included typical Taiwanese opening school exercises including singing, dancing, and cheering. Children then rotated through their days learning more about American holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Halloween. They were able to enjoy the traditions associated with the holiday including some of the special food treats and games. Domeier loved the opportunity to work with the children attending the camp.
"They were so eager to learn, and loved sampling American customs and cuisine," Domeier said.
Domeier was in good company as her colleagues included Michael Uden, dean of the College of Education, and Linda Hensel, both of Concordia University. Marissa Englehardt of Ascension Lutheran School in Tucson, Ariz., and Sheryl Duff of St. Peter Lutheran School in Schaumburg made up the teacher team members. Concordia also sent students Lindsay Nass, Kristen Howard, Rebecca Augustine, and Siri Uden to round out the team of nine.
Immanuel Principal Ken Becker is glad to have her back in the states.
"Sue Domeier brings so much to the table. She is a passionate teacher and is able to push her students to new heights. Under her direction, our science program has flourished and produces regional and state science fair winners every year."
When school began Aug. 18, Domeier will be ready for her 26th school year. The photos of her time in Taiwan will be on display for her middle school students to see and she will be ready to share her experience.
"I think the best part of traveling as part of this program is learning that children are children no matter where they live. They love to laugh, learn, and explore. A smile needs no interpretation," Domeier said.
Immanuel Lutheran School is on Main Street in downtown East Dundee and provides a high- quality academic experience for children in pre-K3 to eighth grade. For information, call Julia Heinz, director of admissions, at (847) 428-1010, ext. 235, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.