By: Amanda Davis
As I am embarking on my initial stay in El Salvador, I am beginning to get involved in different capacities of opportunity that I really enjoy. I began my study of the education system in a private school and as time moves forward I will have the opportunity to work in public schools as well. We also have plans to visit with principals (directors) and school administrators within the area of Ilopango and San Salvador. The following is what I have discovered through my 4 weeks of participation.
In “Bosques de la Paz” the neighborhood our team is calling home for the next couple of months, there are approximately twelve ‘colegios’, which are private elementary/middle schools. These schools are small, averaging 30-50 students each. Each of these schools promote their capabilities of teaching English as a main attraction. The desire for children to learn English has been an easy way for me to be allowed to help and observe the educational system here in El Salvador.
My Mondays and Thursdays are filled with smiles and laughter as I teach English to a Pre-school and Kindergarten class at one of these private schools in our neighborhood named, “Colegio Moises Vincente”. Meanwhile, Tori teaches 6th grade English at the same school. It has been refreshing to participate in my passion of teaching children while here in El Salvador. The kids are wonderful and they all politely call me “Señora” which always brings a smile to my face. The kids are excited to learn English and participate in every way they can while I am there.
Although it has been rewarding teaching English to the kids, there have been challenges along the way. For example, it is difficult to teach the kids their colors in English when they don’t know their colors in Spanish. Their curriculum for English is beyond what the kids are ready to conquer, since they don’t know the material in Spanish. I am working with the teachers and I have suggested going at a slower pace for the pre-schoolers, in hopes of trying to teach them vocabulary they are already familiar with in Spanish.
The teachers seem very enthusiastic to have a native speaker to teach the English portion of their class and would like if we could teach more often than two days per week. At Colegio Moises Vincente, only one teacher out of six knows a significant amount of English, yet all the teachers are required to teach English. The directions in the teacher workbook are in English, however some of the teachers cannot even read these simple directions. One of our goals as the summer progresses is that my fellow team members and I can aid in equipping these teachers, my new friends and co-workers, with basic English skills so they can be better prepared and more confident teaching English in their classrooms.