Guest post by summer intern Caitrin Rhoads
Hi! My name is Caitrin, and I am one of the 8-week summer interns here at Manna Ecuador. Our new 4-week interns just arrived this weekend. Welcome, Charlotte, Naafeh, and Jose!
One of the main reasons I chose to spend this summer with Manna was to teach English classes. The day before I came to Ecuador, I graduated with my MAT (Master’s in the Art of Teaching), so I was excited to get experience in a new kind of classroom setting here in Ecuador. Teaching English is difficult in many ways, but also very rewarding!
Twice a week, many of us interns help out with one of the Program Directors’ English classes. The class I help with is the most basic level of children’s English. This means that the children have very limited vocabulary, and 95% of the class is in Spanish. Greg and I teach using lots of games and songs to keep the kids interested and awake- an hour and a half of English is tough after a full day of school! One game we’ve been playing more recently that the kids love is a variation on Duck, Duck, Goose. Instead of saying “duck” and “goose,” we have the kids say things that often sound the same when they pronounce them: “hat” and “cat,” “pink” and “pig,” or “back” and “black,” for example. I try to get the kids speaking in complete sentences as frequently as possible even with their limited vocabulary. This often entails passing a ball around the circle saying things like “Hello, Juan. How are you?” “I’m fine. Hello, Anahi. How are you?” “I’m fine. Hello…” Well, you get the idea.
Getting to help Ecuadoreans of all ages (I help at the preschool and a local college, as well!) learn English has given me lots of experience that will make me a better teacher back in the States in the fall. It has also shown me how complicated the English language can be! Most of all, though, it has given me the opportunity to form some meaningful relationships as I let my students teach me a thing or two about Spanish, Ecuadorean culture, and the beauty of lifelong learning.