Pitching in for the Peace Corps: Greenfield grads return from Mongolia teaching stint

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Greenfield School graduates Griffin Creech and Stephanie McCormick met Thursday night with former teachers and friends to report on their Peace Corps adventure teaching English in Mongolia.

Creech, remembers that the class sizes were always small at Greenfield, especially when compared to Mongolia.

Teaching in Mongolia, the average was 38 to 40 students to a class.

“That’s hard from a teacher or a student’s point of view,” Creech said.

Creech and McCormick, both University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduates, spent two years teaching with a Mongolian English teacher in a Mongolian school.

“The government of Mongolia is pushing for English learning and is very positive toward the Peace Corps in general,” McCormick said. “English as a form of study in Mongolia is relatively new. They really only started it in the ’90s after the fall of the Soviet Union. Because of that, there has been a push to learn English for students and to train teachers to improve their English because it is the global language.”

Since 1991, the Peace Corps has sent 1,394 volunteers to Mongolia.

“The Peace Corps has a really good relationship with Mongolia,” Creech said. “The schools want a Peace Corps volunteer very badly, and the government wants the Peace Corps there very badly.”

Both said they would gladly sign up for Peace Corps duty again.

“Maybe in a couple more decades, maybe when I am retired or something like that, I would seriously consider doing it again,” Creech said. “And I would make the same decision as in 2016 when we applied. I would for sure go again.”

“If I could go back, I would choose Mongolia again,” McCormick said. “Then I would chose the Peace Corps. It’s a good program for a lot of reasons.”

During their stay in Mongolia, an eighth grade class from Greenfield School maintained correspondence with Griffin and McCormick.

“We did some video and audio and some just written correspondence,” McCormick said. “They would ask questions and we would answer in whichever format we thought was best.”

The class was interested in Mongolian life and culture.

“They ended up picking Mongolia for one of their Model UN countries,” Creech said.

Creech and McCormick plan to move to Moscow in a few weeks to work as teaching assistants in a private English immersion school for a year.

“Moscow was an opportunity to live in a city and do something new,” McCormick said.

After that, McCormick plans to go to law school, and Creech plans to work toward a Ph.D in history.

Creech said Greenfield School’s 50th anniversary this year is a “big mile marker.”

“In Mongolian schools, they love to celebrate anniversaries,” Creech said. “This is a big thing. It sounds so Mongolian to me to hear that there is a 50th-year anniversary coming up. The schools there usually have a big to-do on the five- or 10-year anniversaries. It’s something worth commemorating.”