Linguae Viventes

Linguist. Optimist. Exhibitionist. This is my story.

Archive for the tag “Spanish”

Experiences n’ Stuff

Colegio San Crescente


^^^ That’s my school. ūüôā

Life for me has been the perfect storm of NOT teaching.

Week 1- Observations.

Week 2- Examinations.

Week 3- Visa Drama.

Week 4- Aniversario (Also known as “Let’s take a week off for our school’s birthday”.)


Long story short, the visa process seems to have paid off. I have a new visa (sans II) and I have applied for my carnet de identidad. Should work out fine….. I hope.

After much anticipation, the time has come for me to actually teach! (Cue Music: “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor)

Being a teacher is difficult! It is apparent to me now that being an educator is to take on many roles. You are a guide who leads young minds through the wilderness and into the promised land of learning. You are an encourager who (should) come in with a ton of energy , passion, and knowledge in relation to the subject matter in order to instill a yearning in young minds to explore and discover the subject matter actively. You are at times a disciplinarian who has to manage the class and maintain the respect and attention of the students. You are an example who shows the scholars the¬†pertinence of the subject matter in their lives and the value of studying it. There are so many students who listen to music in English or who watch movies in English….so the challenge lies in being able to take them where they are to the next level. I encourage my kids to actively learn English….or to always have an open mind (No me gusta or Me cuesta are not excuses!) to learning new words and expressions. My approach is to come in as a relatable guide….someone who has experienced and who is still experiencing the language learning process. I know what it is like to trudge through verb conjugations, prepositions, and SUBJUNCTIVE. I strive to make my classroom an open environment where one can speak and be heard as long as they’re ¬†giving a genuine effort. When kids come up to me and tell me that class was EPIC (Which was a slang word we learned) then that makes the day all worthwhile. I have had really successful classes and classes that have all but fallen flat. This process is a learning experience for myself as much as it is for these young scholars.


I don’t expect them to become bilingual in two short semesters but I think if I can animate them to apply the language to their personal lives….we might really see some growth in these kids!


Teaching Others is Reaching Others


This week was a week of explorations and observations! You’d think that studying the language and something about the culture would prepare you for full on immersion….wrong! This week has been a challenging test of my linguistic abilities as well as my previously dormant good sense of direction.¬†

Adventures: I spent a whole day exploring the coastal sector of Castro. It is a scenic display of gently rolling hills that wind down to the coast. The streets are lined with small grocery stores and random curio shops. As you make your way closer to the coast you are greeted by the enticing smell of sea salt and an open air artisan market where you can buy nautical related things as well as fresh seafood. The Plazuela del Tren is a waterside area where you can observe the towns railroad past firsthand as well as random couples making out on benches. Heading closer to the big market, you pass a line of fine (smelling) seafood restaurants which serve some of the freshest fish you can get! In the market I decided to sample some local salmon ceviche which is a combination of lime marinated salmon tossed with cilantro and diced onion and served with a spicy ají sauce. The flavors are complex as the acidity of the lime cuts the fishy edge off of the raw salmon while the onion and cilantro add a more detailed and aromatic facet to the dish. The spicy ají seems to add just the right amount of savory heat to round out this intriguing seaside snack.



On a more scholastic note, my school observations are now done! Monday I dive headfirst into immersion English education and plan on starting out full speed ahead! I have been working to really determine the level of each class from 5 a√Īo (5th grade) to 4 medio (12th grade). It seems very much like the classroom demographics back home, a couple class clowns and a few star students with everyone else somewhere in between. One of the challenges is to really discern who can speak English on a basic level and is simply wrought with nervousness at the opportunity to present themselves to a native speaker, and who simply cannot produce. For this reason, regardless of subject matter I am going to take an age appropriate spin on reviewing basic greetings and self presentations. This should work well because I can fill in some of the knowledge gaps as well as to boost the confidence of the other students who can witness firsthand their own English speaking skills. I would have given anything to have an immersion experience back in high school. I appreciate the opportunity to have the flexibility to do my own thing in the classroom guided by the notes of my two head teachers. We are going to have 5 simple rules.

1. Respect (Yourself and others)

2. No Cell Phones!

3. English Only! ūüėČ

4. Try Your Hardest!

5. Positive Attitudes!


As I get ready for the first big drop on this roller coaster, I am reminded that nothing comes easy. If I am to expect my kids to give their best effort in class, then I have to give them my best effort, creativity, planning, in order to get them excited about where they are heading! One of my main leverage points to the naysayers is that “If I can learn your language and leave everything behind to come help you, you can certainly learn mine….close to home!” Let’s go!!



P.S. – I met my Chilean twin. Anyone who can bust out singing The Police or Queen music and who likes good beer and candy is probably my brother from another mother.





5367 Miles From Home



I came. I saw. I learned how to be a teacher.

How do you cram a four year education degree into a week?! Lots of powerpoint presentations and coffee. During the orientation process I learned about everything from lesson planning to classroom management. I experienced firsthand the rigors of teaching my native language to students who’s English comes from songs by LMFAO, Snoop Dogg, and Justin Bieber. I began to sense just what it takes to be a teacher and the many roles you play. I am an educator, mentor, confidant, inspirer, coach, entertainer, and a role model. I am not “classically trained” but I draw heavily from my experiences as a Spanish student. I want my kids to know that I understand their fears and frustrations, as well as their triumphs. I want them to want to learn and to know that being multilingual can give them the tools they need to experience the world and wide array of human experiences in a much deeper manner.

I met so many wonderful people from all over the world. I learned so much about British culture and how we Americans are always so excitable and energetic. “It must be so tiring to be an American”. I bonded with my roommates “403 for life!!” I rode on a subway for the first time, enjoyed Karaoke, sang childhood Disney songs (Patrick, your voice is a chorus of british angels.), played ultimate frisbee, had Churrascos, and enjoyed some Argentine Spanish che. To my fellow volunteers, you are all really unique and wonderful individuals who are going to do wonderful things in your schools and communities. I look forward to seeing pictures and reading your blog entries. ‚̧

I am home. Castro is the capital of the Chilo√© province and is nestled on the estero de Castro. This charming seaside community has a welcoming charm and unique flavor comprable to Charleston, South Carolina. This weekend I plan on exploring and taking a ton of photos. I live with Daisy Carrasco who is an energetic mother and a selfless provider. She is a welcoming individual who I find to be very easy to talk to, laugh with, and to enjoy mate with. Also in the house is her 93 year old mother, Olga. She is quite possibly the worlds most precious elderly woman and has already decided to adopt me permanently. My little sister is Bel√©n. She is also one of my students and shows much promise with the English language. I think it will be great to plan lessons using her advice in order to maximise the response and excitement from many of her friends. Also, I live with Gringo the kitten who like me is white and cute. ūüėČ

Needless to say I am blessed beyond measure. Three women and a kitten sounds like a Lifetime series but is now my life. I am really excited to make connections and to become part of the greater Castro community.

Observations begin tomorrow (Cue Eye of the Tiger Music…)

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