Introductions are important – culture to newcomer, newcomer to school, and students to newcomer. With two weeks under my belt as the new high school English teacher, I’d like to share some of my experiences.
First, as I was introduced to Guatemalan culture with its traditional clothing, beauty of surrounding mountains and volcanoes and, of course, its tortillas, I have become aware of the overall warmth of its people. Another thing I’ve noticed is the very apparent cultural divide within its society itself, as western influences are visibly seen everywhere. It is a battle between old versus new. During my time here, it will be interesting to see how this concept of traditional versus untraditional plays a role in my job as an English teacher.
Next, I meet Miguel Angel Asturias Academy and its teachers, who are busily preparing for the coming start of school. I join them in preparing curriculum and anticipating the student’s arrival.
At last, it was the first day of school. I have seven classes consisting of students aging between twelve and nineteen. Learning the student’s names was a high priority for me. Individualizing each student’s education is my goal and taking out the intimidation of learning a foreign language. As a fluent, NON-speaking Spanish person (Yes, you heard me correctly. I do not yet speak Spanish), as I make mistakes in Spanish, it will show them that I understand how difficult it is to learn a new language. After my first week with the students, my biggest surprise was how varied the class abilities were. Some students were moderately conversationally fluent, while others could barely count to 10. The second week was focused on conversation basics and getting comfortable with speaking English aloud in class.
I am pleased with the student’s progress. It is both challenging and rewarding to teach this group of young adults. We will continue the journey of learning English together, building solid platforms as we go. Stay tuned for more updates.