Whether it was teaching graduate-level students, top, or meeting curious elementary school youngsters, Dr. Becky Brannock says her experience in the Philippines has made her a better teacher at PSU.

 

EVEN AFTER TEACHING FOR 31 YEARS and being honored twice with PSU’s Outstanding Faculty Award, Dr. Becky Brannock says she is a better teacher today because of an international experience she had in 2009.

“I’m not the same person I was when I left,” she said. “Being able to travel and see things like that was life-changing. I cherished every single day,” said Brannock, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling and director of the department’s School Counseling Program.

Sponsored by a Rotary University Teaching Grant, Brannock went to Manila-the place of her mother’s birth-where she taught for four months in the spring of 2009 at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. The semester turned out to be as much a journey of self-discovery as it was one of educating her Philippine students.

“I had been encouraged to teach abroad for years, and I finally realized that this was a golden opportunity. It has always been on my bucket list of things to do,” said Brannock. “I couldn’t think of a better way to fulfill my life’s dream.”

As she taught graduate-level courses, made presentations to schools, consulted with educators about implementing comprehensive school counseling programs, and
spoke at clubs and conventions, Brannock had soul-searching moments, as well. Dismayed at Manila’s high level of poverty, she began regularly purchasing and handing out food to the hungry on her way to class. She also had a surreal moment when she found the gravesite of her grandfather, a WWII POW who died in a concentration camp in 1942.

Brannock returned to PSU inspired and with a greater appreciation for the educational path she has traveled.

“What other degree allows you self-discovery, to be able to learn about relationships, and to gain a skill? One of the things I love about my work here at PSU is
building relationships with students. No matter where I am, I find myself drawn to that,” Brannock said.