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Learning to Teach

Stephanie helping students in the Primaria with their English worsheets.I didn't mention in my introductory post that when Nancy hired me for this teaching internship my experience had mostly been teaching individuals or small groups, and all in the US. Though teaching English without a steady grasp on Spanish seems daunting, teaching alongside Stephanie has been really productive. Surprisingly, after just two weeks, this experience has made me comfortable with large groups of all ages.

At first, I observed Stephanie teach and I taught bits and pieces of the lessons. In my first week, I introduced myself in steady, enunciated English to 6 groups of students, repeatedly answering the questions, “Do you have a boyfriend,” and “What is his name?” Clearly, teaching has turned out to be a highly entertaining activity.

I am still adapting to the ways the different age groups and students take in, remember, and combine information. It is a learning process for me, as I am still unsure of how much my students are understanding or how much they already know. I taught my first solo class (after-school English) last Wednesday, with the theme of “emotions.” We played charades and drew emoticon pictures, but I found it tough to be consistently coherent and simple, while keeping the children interested. I am steadily becoming more comfortable thinking on my feet and pacing lessons energetically while not too quickly.

Every Mondays and Wednesday, Stephanie and I teach the free after-school English and evening Adult English classes . The after-school class is mostly young kids, but people anywhere from 12 to 60 come to the adult class, which has built up a core group of dedicated students. Varied age groups work together, play together, and learn together pretty harmoniously here, which works well for these types of classes. Stephanie and I also teach English in the grade 7 and 8 classes in the Telesecondaria and grades 4,5 and 6 in the Primaria on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

 Kelly teaching the seasons in one of her first English classes with LCEF.

Getting to know the kids has also improved my teaching abilities. They enjoy interacting with Stephanie and I during and outside of class, which hopefully means many will turn up for our first English Movie Night (with Spanish subtitles) this Friday.


What has surprised and excited me most is how eager [most of] the kids and adults are to learn English through the foundation's programs. Kids come to the after-school classes on their own accord, and some older kids come to the drop-in Adult English with notebooks prepared and homework completed. Stephanie adds that many of the parents, and children too, realize the many opportunities provided by the foundation, that this is unique to La Manzanilla, and embrace them as they come.


-Kelly (teaching intern)

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