Hello 2018!

Photo: My mom and I celebrating New Year’s!

I just got an email from someone about my blog, and it made me realize how many months I’ve let gone by without updating this baby! This is a good time to say that I LOVE chatting to people about the application process and my experiences here, so if you’re reading this and want to send me a line, please do so by clicking “contact” on the main menu.

Last semester, classes at my university ended earlier than expected, and I ended up having lots of time off for my Christmas break. Like…a lot compared to last year. After realizing that I would be stuck in my apartment for most of it, I spoke with my mom about how I should’ve planned a trip home. Well, bless her heart- she bought me a ticket to come home!! She was originally set to visit me this January, but she saw how much I was missing home, and she helped me out. I contacted Avianca and was able to get a refund for her original ticket to Pereira- major WHEW.

Last year, there were no monies to come home, so I spent the holiday with my partner’s family, but coming home for Christmas this year was honestly amazing. I just got back here a week ago, and while it was SUPER hard to leave again, I did feel refreshed. I now feel ready to tackle this semester, and I have lots of plans for it:

  • I would love to do a spelling bee again, but it may be tough coordinating a few of the steps where computers are needed. At my old uni, many of my classes were in the computer labs, but at my current uni, the computer labs are in the basement and my classes aren’t held there. My tutor says it’s just a matter of asking for the labs beforehand. We’ll see, but I’m nervous about the logistics.
  • I would also love to teach some dance classes, which my tutor says would work best on the other campus in Cartago (an hour away). They have a performing arts building, so that gives me hopes for attendance! I’ve been wanting to teach hip hop here.
  • My tutor and I have been in talks about presentations where I would speak to students on studying and working abroad, and I’m so pumped about doing them! I want to show students the value of living and working abroad, and share my experiences here. I know I’ve been quite candid here in my blog, and while I like to say it how it is, I may have to tone it down in the presentations. I’ll still be honest about the realities, but I’ll be careful not to offend (Colombians love and will defend their country, just like we get defensive of our own countries from time to time). I’ll frame my experiences as experiences they will also face when they go abroad: dealing with language challenges, feeling homesick, going through culture shock, and unintentionally offending people while you adapt to the culture (like forgetting to say Buenos Dias!). But, I will also share ways to get through these challenges. Being a Senior ETA and writing this blog has allowed me to synthesize a lot of things about living abroad, and I’m excited to share some of my tips to others. Overall, my experiences in Colombia have given me the confidence to tackle anything, lots of patience, and plenty of teaching skills.

Now, I have one more piece of news to share…

I was accepted to the Teach for America Corps of New York this past December!! Having gone through their application process from October through December, I now understand why I was MIA for so long – Haha. Jokes aside, I really can’t express how excited I am to teach my future students and meet my fellow Corps Members this summer for institute.

TFA says I will most likely teach General or Special Education for Grades 1-6 in either Manhattan, the Bronx or Brooklyn. I am leaning towards Special Ed, but will be super happy for whatever position ends up being a good fit for me. It will be my first time teaching in a public school classroom, and while teaching adults is certainly different, I do believe that my English Language Teaching experience both in NYC and in Colombia, will help me. I’m also beyond grateful to have the opportunity to teach in my hometown of NYC. I will get to teach students who come from a similar background as me which is exactly what I hoped for when I decided I wanted to teach at a public school last year. I am a product of a failing public school in Harlem, but because of my 7th grade math teacher, I received the guidance to apply for Prep for Prep 9, a leadership program which helps bright African American and Latinx students in New York City prepare for success at leading independent boarding schools across the Northeast. I advanced academically more than I ever envisioned for myself. However, most of my classmates did not receive the same fate, and it why I chose to apply to TFA. I believe in their mission to ensure students in low-income districts attend schools that meet their needs. The fact that the educational system in the US is failing black and brown students is a civil rights issue we need to address.

I will decide if and how I will blog about my experiences with TFA and teaching in the future. As of right now, TFA has been getting us prepared for hiring and getting certified in the State of New York by having us do some logistical things. I’m currently prepping for two difficult exams I’ll have to take in June. I have plenty of time to prepare for them, so I’m trying to stay on the ball!!

As always, thanks for reading. ❤

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