My challenge in Punta Allen
Chepis is our National Scholar from Mexico City. She joins our marine conservation program for 2 months. Due to her degree in Biology she is a lot of help with science on base but she is also helping out with our community program in Punta Allen!
On my first week at Pez Maya, I received the scary news: Welcome! You will help us with our community project in Punta Allen. Since I do not have any prior experience in teaching, I was quite shocked at first.
Punta Allen is a little fishermans village at the south coast of Tulum. GVI has a program for English Learning and Environmental education with the local schools: kindergarten, primary and high school. There are around 40 students working in the program. So, I was shocked when they gave me the role as an English teacher! Especially, because I do not consider myself as the best English speaker of the world!
Nevertheless I was scared and nervous, I did it. And it was not a bad experience! In fact, it is a very exciting and challenging activity! The children have grown to my heart and I enjoy my time in Punta Allen a lot.
The program provides the students with an indispensable tool for their personal development regarding learning a second language. In the most cases there is only the opportunity for learning, considering the level of local economical development.
In the general view: the situation looks like ever English class in the world: enthusiastic little children drawing and singing and rebel teenagers with a special resistance to learn in a formal way. However, in the detail view, it has some differences too. The town only has limited electricity, and there is no cell phone signal or internet. Therefore, GVI has a strong advantage: many native English speakers people who are willing to help.
Our primary goal is not to teach a perfect english but giving them a way to communicate in the four principal skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They learn about the language in a fun way!
As a consequence, we begin with an activity of pen-pals between the teenagers of Punta Allen and the volunteers on base. Everybody is exited every week waiting for correspondence! And the rebel teenagers have found a nice motivation: the news about the nice girls of Pez Maya! The exchange of letters does not only teach them how to write in english but they also get in contact with many different cultures.
Finally, I understand that neither GVI nor the people in Punta Allen were expecting me to be a formal english teacher. The just want me to be a link between base and the students. That is the difference! And of course, we are the difference!
PS: Special thanks to Lupita Tenorio (DISA-UAEH) for her useful advices in this challenge!
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