Nakusp Secondary welcomes its new English and Social Studies teacher, Mr. Ken Cross, all the way from Mapleton, a small village near Brisbane, Australia. Mr. Cross came to our school through a foreign exchange program for teachers. This one-year exchange is between him and Nakusp teacher Mr. Stuart Hobson.
Mr. Cross has been teaching for fourteen years, due to what he describes as being a lack of imagination! He also works part-time at a snake interpretation center. He chose to go on a teaching exchange because of his love of travel.
Retired teacher Gary Davidson, whom Mr. Cross met through bird-watching, connected hit to Naksup. Mr. Davidson had been on the exchange to Australia twice and contacted Mr. Hobson with the offer of a year-long exchange to Australia. After Mr. Hobson communicated with Mr. Cross, the two came to the conclusion that they were both very keen.
Mr. Cross first visited Canada in 2009 where he led a group of Australians and met Mr. Davidson. He spent three weeks in Vancouver, the Okanagan, the Rockies and prairies of Alberta.
Mr. Cross says that at first he wasn’t sure if he would easily adjust to our contrasting temperatures (the coldest it had ever been in his Australian home was five degrees Celsius!), but found that this was not a problem.
He has yet to attempt our down-hill winter sports. He says that despite the climatic differences, Canada and Australia are very similar in culture. “I think that a Canadian would find him or herself at home in Australia in a very short time, and vice versa.”
Sports are important in both countries (of course, ice hockey in Canada, and soccer and cricket in Australia), and they both have a large British influence.
He says he likes the Nakusp area very much, most significantly admiring the physical beauty of the area, which I’m sure many of our long-time locals can relate to.
Mr. Cross’ family will soon be joining him in Nakusp next month. He says that he misses them very much, and actually chose to wait till he felt his children were old enough before going on an exchange program. His children are excited to see snow for the first time in their lives.
Mr. Cross has received a welcome reception at out school, incorporating much humour into his lessons. He frequently tells us, he “likes to keep things simple,” an apparent trademark of Australian culture. We look forward to spending the rest of the year with our Australian educator.