Part of our 11 week training includes TEFL training. We have many sessions in the training center on how to teach listening, how to coteach and coplan etc. What has been the most beneficial for me out of all of our TEFL sessions was this 3 week practicum.
I have to say I was anxious before I entered into this practicum but I was incredibly lucky to be assigned to work with a teacher, I will call Marta, who teaches 7th grade at a military school in Quito. She has been teaching for almost 20 years so has an incredible amount of experience, although most of her experience was with the 5th grade. I was not the only trainee assigned to this teacher. There was a bit of confusion the first day we arrived at the school and I ended up working with another PCT (peace corps trainee) as well. She would coteach the morning class while I observed and then in the afternoon we would switch off. It ended up working out very well. Here are some pictures of the school we worked at:
I was very lucky with my teacher in that she was very willing to work with us, she had a very high level of English and most of her classes are focused on having the students speak as much as possible. This is very different from what I've heard most Ecuadorian classrooms are like. In general, from what I've heard, the majority of classrooms here are teacher centered and focus on writing and reading. This is understandable due to their cultures history and due to the fact that most classrooms have upwards of 30 to 40 students. You may be able to imagine how it may be more difficult to incorporate speaking and listening activities in to classrooms of this size.
I went into the school from 7:15-12:00 twice a week for three weeks. At the end of the practicum we were all required to plan and teach a lesson by ourselves. One of the TEFL teachers came in to observe the lesson in practice. It was difficult but I think my class went relatively well. I would like to see in the future how I could incorporate more games or more realia to make the content more relatable, interactive and engaging.
Here is a picture of me with one of our classes and my co teacher:
Overall, I am so happy we had this practicum as part of our training and I'm definitely going to miss the students and working with the wonderful teacher at this school. I will not, however, miss waking up at 5 in the morning and taking two buses to get to school on time.