Aside from taking on the daunting tasks of rooming with strangers, flying on sketchy airlines and planning a trip in one week, we've added teaching kids to the mix. So far, being English Assistants has been really eye-opening. It's only the first week and we've already had intense conversations about the public education system, seen learning differences between Spanish and American kids, experimented with teaching techniques, etc.
Let's be honest: did we feel qualified to teach before we came here? Eh. Did we have any idea what class time even looked like? Nope. But I can honestly say there's no better way to challenge yourself than to stand in front of 30 (rowdy) Spanish students and try to help them be excited about languages like you are.
A little recap about our program: We're CIEE Volunteer Language Assistants-meaning that in exchange for living with a host family (free food, free room), we work 12 hours a week in a public school assisting English teachers with their lessons.
Here's a breakdown of our impressions, surprises and insights as "teachers:"