Javier Cabezas (MAFLP Spanish 2015) Influences Young Hondurans by Teaching ESL Abroad
During July and August 2014, I worked as a teacher volunteer for Nicaragua Initiative for Community Advancement (NICA). NICA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to elevate rural and underdeveloped communities. With the help of another volunteer teacher from UD, María Fernanda Márquez Adrianza (BAFLL Spanish 2013, MATESL 2015), and access to a newly-remodeled classroom, I was able to teach an English class that integrated both technology and traditional teaching. During the first month, my main responsibilities were to teach English classes three times a week while creating the curriculum and class materials. In order to keep the program sustainable, I served as a mentor to two instructors who would replace María and me after our departure. I shared with them the knowledge I gained through my graduate program at UD. More specifically, I explained and modeled teaching strategies and material design guidelines that were challenging yet successful. The last two weeks served as a transition in which the new instructors took over the class while I observed and gave feedback. At the end, María and I said good-bye to the students during a final assessment where the students demonstrated the skills of giving and receiving directions. After the assessment, they enjoyed a small celebration and were able to practice their recently-acquired English skills with new volunteers from the United States. Aside from teaching, I engaged in extracurricular activities and enjoyed getting to know the students, their families, and locals in the community. Thanks to the Foreign Language and Literatures Department and their generous funding, I was able to combine my passion for volunteering and teaching as means to influence a community of language learners.