01.06.2012 - 30.06.2012
Over the course of my last few blog’s, I have had a focus on Mexico and my adventures in it. Though Mexico and its many adventures has been an amazing experience, I am also here to volunteer. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound as exciting as exploring a Mayan site or trekking through an ancient cave, but to be honest, the school I’m placed at has been just as exciting or even more so than any adventure I’ve been on in Mexico. How is this possible? Let me introduce you to Telesecundaria.
This is my first time teaching English to non-English speakers. Before I started volunteering at Telesecundaria I was uncertain how I was going to connect with the students. Though I had certain ideas for curriculum and activities, I had no past experience to gauge the effectiveness of such curriculum methods. To further my uncertainness, I was placed with an age range I’ve never worked with in a school setting…..preteens!
My first few days at Telesecundaria were that of observing. The first few classes the students asked me questions about where I came from, why I was at the school, and other general questions to gain a familiarity with me. Though I was able to interact with the students, it was mostly through gestures, pictures, and crude electronic translators. Keep in mind; I can barely speak a word of Spanish. The most useful tool used was a picture book of Toronto. The students seemed fascinated with Toronto, more specifically, how Toronto was able to have hot summers and cold winters. One student seemed confused as he said, “This change happens in the same place, right?” The student interactions at the school have been extremely positive. The relationship between the students and I has been that of reciprocal learning from one another. The students have been learning about the English language, Canada, and about life outside of Mexico. Where as I have been learning about the Mexican education system, what student life in Mexico entails; apparently wrestling (WWE) and Justin Bieber are extremely popular…. I still don’t understand the latter, and how a positive classroom climate is essential for student learning. From all of my observations and learning, I have been truly blessed to have the guidance and support of the English teacher, Estefania. Her positive outlook, encouraging attitude, and remarkable teaching approach have been awe-inspiring, and have helped shaped my teaching style. For this, I thank you.
With Thursday being my last day at Telesecundaria, each class will be presenting their class song that they picked at the beginning of my placement. Songs that will be performed include CCR’S “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”, Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, and The Scorpions “Winds of Change.” No, I didn’t have an influence on what songs each class choose, they decided on what to sing by themselves. Are you starting to see why I like teaching with these students? In a recent class, one of the students asked if they could show me a clip on YouTube. The student showed me a clip from the movie School of Rock. After viewing the clip, I asked why the student showed that clip. The student simply said, “That is you. You rock!” The students definitely got to know me well over the last six weeks.
My volunteer stay at Telesecundaria has been one the best experiences of my life. The position has shown me that teaching is a career path that I want to pursue, though challenging at times, teaching ESL can be fun, and most importantly, having a great teaching team is crucial. I don’t know if I will ever see the students from Telesecundaria again, but the impact that they had on me, along with Estefania, will be life lasting. I wish you all the best in whatever path you pursue in life.