Photo: my university’s campus at night!
I had a wonderful Semana Santa and a MUCH needed break from classes. I was feeling a bit burned out in March, so I’m glad I was able to travel. My time is winding down super fast, and my grant is coming to an end soon. I have less than 2 months left in Colombia- it’s crazy! I do miss home though, and I’m excited to see my mom and get back in touch with NYC.
As my time here comes to a close, I can say that I have learned so much about myself, teaching, and living in Colombia. I’ve grown more independent. I’ve gained a great deal of patience. I’ve gained thicker skin from the tough moments both in and out of the classroom. I believe that these two years with Fulbright will certainly prepare me for my future as a public school teacher, and I will take everything I’ve learned with me. It has been a worthwhile experience, despite the challenges, and I’ve grown stronger because of it.
I think that writing my blog has not only been helpful for me and but for folks looking for a glimpse into life as an ETA. I’m really glad I created it. I also enjoy responding to the emails I get from incoming ETAs and prospective applicants.
I have to say that the best part of my 2nd year in Colombia has been mentoring as a Senior ETA. I like helping others and passing on what I’ve learned. As I’ve stated many times, last year was difficult for me, but I’m glad I gave Fulbright another chance by applying for another year. This year allowed me to see that while teaching adults for the past three years has been a good experience, I do miss teaching children. I needed this year to figure what my next steps were, and I’m very excited to settle down in one place and begin teaching in NYC.
Next month will be my last month in Colombia, so I’m getting ready by putting aside what I hope to donate (like clothes) and figuring out what I need to do to leave with ease in May (saving money for upcoming bills, etc). I’m also interested in doing a presentation about study abroad grants for my students in both Pereira and Cartago because I’ve recently spoken to a few students who are interested in traveling and studying abroad. They want to see what life is like in Europe and the US. I truly wish that for all of my students, even the ones who don’t seem to care much about learning English. So, I really hope I can make this happen, but I’m waiting to hear back from my tutor about when it would be a good time to present before I go.
In my free time, I’ve been busying with studying for my upcoming teacher certification exams. The exams still make me nervous, but I have to keep chugging along. My classes at my university are going fine. I enjoy working with my co-teachers, and while I sometimes get annoyed by how much our students like to chat in class, I do see how much they have progressed since last August. Just yesterday, I had a class where we went over cooking verbs, and I asked my students to write recipes for famous Colombian dishes. They worked in groups of 3 and were super focused on the task. As time began to run out, I kept saying, “You have 10/5/3 minutes left” and my students would say “NO, teacher we need more time!” Ha-ha. They were really dedicated to producing good work, and when I read the recipes, I was quite impressed with their written instructions. They used ordinal numbers to order the steps and wrote strong sentences to describe the preparation of their dishes. These kinds of moments keep me going.
Well, I hope to write one last post for the month of May and/or my arrival in NYC. Perhaps, I’ll do a separate one with some FAQs I get by email. As always, thanks for reading.