Major: Elementary Education
Hometown, State: grayslake, IL
Type of experience: Student Teaching
Experience: Student Teaching Abroad
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=IntlTeaching
I taught grades 2nd-12th at a bilingual alternative school in Cuenca, Ecuador. I lived with a host family in Cuenca and on the weekends I explored surrounding towns, and took part in cultural experiences. I was able to really connect with the people of Ecuador through living with a host family. I used Spanish every single day and left the experience feeling very confident in my Spanish abilities.
I first learned about this experience at the student teaching abroad fair.
An impact to my life...
The teaching in Ecuador was very different due to the differences in classroom management. The behaviors I experienced there were extreme and prepared me well for anything that will be thrown at me in the states. Personally, I grew so much in my Spanish abilities and discovered that I love working with English Language Learners.
My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable experience for me personally was working with students of disabilities with little to no support. I really learned how to think outside of the box to differentiate to meet their needs. I worked closely with a student who was blind which was a big challenge for me in the beginning, but I grew so much as a teacher because of it.
I will never forget...
The most memorable experience for me was the dance classes during the school day. I loved taking dance with the students and watching how much fun they had while doing it.
A surprising discovery...
Something that I did not expect was the lack of organization and classroom management at the school. It really taught me new ways to engage students and made me constantly think about how to set up procedures at the beginning of a year.
Advice for others...
I would advise you to take risks in the classroom. Due to the fact that there is no curriculum, and you can do whatever you want, this is the time to take a risk and try something completely new!