Ecuador, Part 2: My Internship Teaching English ; August 20, 2012

As promised, here is part 2—my internship!

This is the outside of the school, which faces the street. The name of the school is Centro Escolar Experimental "San Francisco de Quito" (The "San Francisco of Quito" Experimental School Center.) It is a regular Ecuadorian public school. 1st-6th graders come from 7:30 to 12:40 Monday through Friday, and 8th-10th graders come from 1:00 to 6:10.

Here are some kids playing in the courtyard/playground area before school started one day. The classrooms are set up on the four sides of the courtyard, with each grade mostly grouped together.

This is me with Gladys Diaz, the Ecuadorian teacher who I worked with. She teaches English to 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th grades, so those are the grades I worked with. She teaches full time at the school, meaning she is there from 7:30 to 6:10 every day, with only two 40-minute recesses and one 20-minute break in the middle of the day. You have to admire her, and all the teachers there, for working so much for what is an incredibly small salary compared with the norm in the U.S.

My job as intern was basically to help her teach. I went with her to a different classroom every 40 minutes—we brought their English class to them. Most Ecuadorian English teachers only speak a little English—even Gladys only knows about as much English as the 8th graders that she teaches. As a native speaker of English, I was able to teach pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar with more accuracy.

This is one 5th grade class, with Gladys standing up in the back. There are about 40 kids in each class. That made it a little difficult for me! I had only ever taught one lesson to one classroom of 11 students before this internship. So at first, it was pretty overwhelming.

From day one, Gladys wanted me to teach whole lessons to classes. So I did the best I could, going through lessons in the textbook. Then I started adding things in and trying to explain things in ways that the students could understand better. I discovered that I know enough Spanish to teach English... thank God! But there were many times when I just couldn't think of the right Spanish word, and I had to just hope the students knew what I was trying to say!

This is a picture of some of my 5th grade students holding up their English textbook, entitled "Clapping Time." Let me tell you—English is a ridiculously complex language for people to learn as a second language. These kids have their work cut out for them. I feel lucky to have been born in a country where it is the native language! Since English is quickly becoming the world language, the language that everyone wants to learn to be able to communicate with everyone else, it is a privilege to speak it fluently already!

Here are the girls of one of my 5th grade classes. It was my last day, and they all wanted to give me a hug. :) This was my noisiest 5th grade class—they always got out of hand, and I had to yell over them to be heard. I discovered that I actually do have a "teacher voice" and that I can make myself heard over a classroom full of 40 talking 11-year-olds! But I didn't quite learn how to discipline them or prevent them from all talking in the first place. If I ever have a classroom of my own, I will have to develop rules and systems to keep behavior under control!

These are the boys in the noisiest 6th grade class, just being boys. One day, I had this class to myself—Gladys could not be there for some reason. But as soon as I told the class that I was their teacher for the day, they started cheering and talking! I tried to get them to quiet down, and for at least 10 minutes I was trying to figure out what to do! Then, in exasperation, I yelled at the top of my lungs and even teared up a little. They got quiet and listened. The Spanish came fluently (haha)... I told them to be quiet, and asked them how they could learn English if they didn't pay attention, and that I was trying to teach them but they were being disrespectful. After that, they listened as I taught. That was one of the craziest moments of my internship. At least it taught me that I have the "power" as a teacher to control a class. I think I'll remember that. :)

All in all, it was a great experience. Teaching English reminded me that I love the way languages work. While learning Spanish, I was teaching English, which helped me understand both languages better! To me, languages are fun, and I hope I can teach English for a living while maybe learning some more languages. (I'm considering trying Portuguese!)

But also, this internship reminded me that I love working with kids, and I love Latino kids. I know that I will be working with kids in my future and that I will enjoy it. Through this internship, I was able to show God's love to the kids. Some of them wrote notes to me and told me that they felt loved and cared for by me, and that their lives were better because of me. (AWWW!!) I feel that it is in God's plan for my life that I will show His love to children by loving them, whether it is through teaching English or whatever else I can do.

5:16 PM  |  

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Comments (1)

Anonymous Learn English wrote:

Great post, thank you so much for posting it! Really inspiring, especially since I'm an English teacher who has been through similar experiences. : )


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