Teaching in Costa Rica by Kassandra Earls
Arriving in Costa Rica, I knew that this would be a life altering moment for me. With those first steps around the school seeing all the happy children, I realised what a wonderful decision I had made in joining the Projects Abroad team.
In the school, Escuela Asencion Esquivel Ibarra, one of the first things I learned was there was sanity in the chaos. The children were all VERY excited to have a foreigner in their school and took every chance they had to practice their English. Some of the children were a bit difficult to reach while others were almost TOO enthused! There were a few times that I would lose sight of Carolina, the teacher I was shadowing, and all I would have to do was find one of the children from one of the classes. No words were necessary; they would just smile, take my hand and lead me to where I needed to be. The school system and staff were all really easy to get along in, the children are all pretty well behaved, and Costa Rica is a very fun loving culture.
I would write words on the chalk board, draw, dance, and sing to make learning English fun! I found that the more outgoing and flexible you can be, the more fun you will find. As in every situation there are certain children who you really connect to, for me it was the deaf students; they were all so intelligent! They would take time to show me how to sign certain words, say certain phrases. Sometimes it felt as if I was learning sign language faster than I was Spanish!
Carolina and I would teach a variety of things. One class worked on making party invitations, the younger levels worked on making English labels for things like glue and pencils, and other common things found around the school. Carolina was a great teacher to shadow; she was fun, inventive, and full of life, and the children absolutely adored her.
I also learned a great deal from the students! I managed to learn a game that the girls played, and let me tell you, figuring out a game in another language is rather interesting! Lucky for me the girls were sweethearts and they didn’t change the rules on me. Hearing from an enthralled child, "TEACHER TEACHER!" when they see me out in the streets or learning something in school made this trip more than worth it. Anyone who is thinking about going, I only have one thing to say "DON’T THINK, JUST DO!" Looking back on my experience, I don’t think I taught the Costa Rican children nearly as much as they taught me. I taught them some English words and they showed me "Pura Vida" or "Pure Life".