Hi everyone! So as I mentioned in my last post, I am finished with the English Opens Doors Program and am now getting a bit of traveling in before I head back home. Before I start sharing my travel adventures, I wanted to write a brief recap and reflection on how I feel now that the program is over.
First, I’ll start with a recap of the last couple of weeks teaching in my school along with how the English Winter Camps went (we are required to participate in 2 weeks of English Camps). My last 2 weeks of classes at the school were a joke. I only ended up having about 2-3 official classes each week. All other classes were cancelled because of holidays and rain. I had planned on having my farewell class parties the last week, which in retrospect, I wish I would’ve planned for earlier. There were so many students missing that last week and a lot of ones that did come didn’t want to be there (they were understandably antsy for winter break). Also, most teachers don’t even teach anything, they just watch movies the entire week. Like why even have class then?!? #chile
Anyways, I bought some snacks and drinks for my end of semester parties and planned on just hanging out as well. Well let’s just say some of the classes were more appreciative than others. My first day of class parties was a bummer and sort of annoyed me. I mean don’t get me wrong, some of the students were into it, but others didn’t want to socialize and some didn’t even say thank you! I tried not to take it personally and to remember what it was like to be a teenager antsy for summer/winter break to begin, but I was still a bit bummed at the end of the day. The second day of parties however, was a lot better. I had one student write me a letter in English thanking me as well as most kids being really happy, socializing, and participating in the games. So at least my last day ended on a high note. 🙂
The teachers also planned a going away thing for me to thank me for my hard work during the semester. It was a nice surprise since to be honest, I wasn’t sure they would do anything. My host mom and dad are great, along with a handful of other teachers, but the rest weren’t the most friendly or talkative with me. Of course, I could’ve made more of an effort too, but I was so stressed out in the beginning and pretty much stayed focused on work that the time sort of flew by.
As far as the English Winter Camps go, I had my first week in Viña del Mar and my second week in Santiago. The camps include both classroom and outdoor activities, a few week long projects, and the lip dub (more on this later) which is the highlight of the week. Some of the activities were a bit boring, but all of the outdoor activities were a lot of fun. The Viña del Mar kids were awesome, wanted to participate, and had good levels of English. The Santiago group were a little more varied. Unfortunately, some kids just go to get out of the house, so that week was not has fun as the first one for me (plus I think 1 week is enough). Both weeks are a exhausting (I was running around playing dodge ball, tag, and explaining new activities which involved yelling at times).
As I mentioned before, the lip dub was the highlight of the week. It is actually a competition between all the winter camps locations. We all find out a song the morning of lip dub day. Then it’s a time crunch to make props, organize students, and film a video of the students with their props, lip syncing, dancing, etc. The video needs to be done in one take, no editing and submitted by the end of the day. This day in particular is really exhausting, but a lot of fun too. Here are the videos from my winter camps (we didn’t win tho):
Viña del Mar Lip Dub:
Santiago B San Miguel Lip Dub:
(It really irks me how the sound is off in both of these videos tho!)
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for my recap. I am really glad I did this program. It was challenging, but fun and now I have a newfound appreciation for my teacher friends. Plus it was a big bucket list item for me. I loved my host family, students, fellow volunteers, and location. The one con for me was that I feel like I did not improve my Spanish as much as I would have liked. Part of that was due to the fact that I got along well with my fellow Quinta Region volunteers and being in a good location so that we could travel together (and would obvi speak English), so I can’t really complain too much. I’ve made friends for life!
Teaching abroad in Chile did reiterate for me that I am in fact a very analytical person in general and not just when it comes to engineering. I also used to question myself in engineering instead of going with my gut, and I found myself doing the same with teaching. With teaching, there were so many variables that went into a good day, many that weren’t even in my control. So I had to learn to go with the flow a bit more, trust my gut more (because there isn’t time for anything else), and be quick on my feet when things didn’t go according to plan. At the beginning of the semester, I was stressing myself out trying to plan everything to a T and quickly had to change my way of thinking and allow for a lot more flexibility. I needed to remind myself that I can be sufficiently prepared without overthinking it. I would like to continue to keep that mentality in whatever I decide to do next. 🙂
Well that’s it for this post. I will leave you with another fun video from the semester….dancing to “Single Ladies” in front of the entire school for Alumni Day!
Until next post!
P.S. Check out this Google Photos Album for more photos from my semester abroad: EODP: Teaching English in Chile