Teaching

Resources

As you are preparing to come to Ecuador for anywhere from 3 months to 6 months, you will be busy saying goodbye to friends, obtaining your Visa, saving up money, perhaps practicing your Spanish, and maybe thinking about how you are going to do a good job teaching English will be the last thing on your to-do list.  You don’t have to extensively plan lessons before arrival (if you did, you would most definitely end up adapting your plans after reaching the schools), however, we do want you to think about the responsibility you will have to impart knowledge to the young people you will teach.

Before and during your time teaching in the Chimborazo province, buy or download a basic English textbook to understand the way the lessons are divided.  One thing the volunteer writing this found helpful was downloading dozens of easy children’s songs onto her computer before departing, then using the songs in the classroom (via ipod and speakers) when they fit into the lesson (ie. “Head and shoulders” when teaching on body parts).  Browse the web for English teaching resources.  Take some time to think about ways you can make your English lessons both fun and effective.  Keep the age group you will work with in mind- you should know this before you arrive.

Once you reach Ecuador, you will understand more fully what resources the school has and what is expected of you.  Honestly, we are a new organization and are trying to have more training and general resources available to our volunteer teachers, but right now, volunteers get to figure things out individually at their schools.  It is easy to arrive, full of energy and motivation, then within a month, lose steam and resort to only teaching out of the textbook and simply maintaining the students’ English levels.  We seek out volunteers who will remain motivated to inspire their students, and who will work diligently each day to increase their students’ English levels.  You will need to put effort into lesson planning, reflecting on how things went, and assessing the students.  Be prepared to spend some of your free time preparing lessons.

School conditions

Our project is based in Chimborazo, the poorest province in Ecuador, however there is a

wide range of diversity as far as what the schools have and are without.  Classrooms will be equipped with white boards, students

will have desks, children will have notebooks and pencils.  In colegios, students will have textbooks, which volunteers will help main English teachers teach from effectively.  In escuelas, the students may or may not have textbooks, but they will most likely have notebooks.  If the students do not have textbooks, the volunteer will be able to find a multitude of lesson plans and English language basics online.  It would not hurt to bring a basic English textbook, or download the one listed under the packing list in the Preparation and Arrival page.  If you wish to make copies of a worksheet, the students will most likely have to pay for their copy, therefore we advise that you try to plan activities that they can complete in their notebook, or textbook workbook, if possible.

Free time

Options to teach Extra English and learn Spanish

It’s quite likely that one of your motivations for wishing to work with TEV is that you hope to improve your Spanish.  Living in a Spanish-speaking country will absolutely help you with your language skills!  If you have a Spanish textbook that you can bring and study with from time to time when you are here, that will also be good.  Because everyone in Ecuador has to learn English in school and university, you will be a magnet for Ecuadorians wishing to practice/ improve their English.  A good idea may be to set up a language exchange with people wanting English lessons, in which they assist you with your Spanish half the time, and you assist them with their English.  You may, of course, give all the English lessons you would like, but be sure you are putting your teaching in the schools first!  Ecuadorians can be quite persuasive, but it is okay to say no.  You don’t want to get run-down and overworked, so don’t feel like you need to say yes to everyone who wants English lessons.  There will almost definitely be many people who ask you for them.

Travel opportunities

During national holidays, you will have the opportunity to travel around Ecuador. Have a look to our page about Ecuador.

Expectations

Volunteers

Coming soon the commitment letter…

Schools

Coming soon the commitment letter…

Host families

Coming soon the commitment letter…

Probably one of the reasons you are drawn to this program is that it allows you to live with an Ecuadorian family, ensuring that you will understand more of the Ecuadorian culture.  A cultural exchange really is a wonderful thing, for both the foreigner and the host family.  It will not always be easy, however.

A TEV volunteer celebrating Christmas with her host family

You need to arrive in Ecuador with a very open mind and flexible attitude.  More than likely, your host family will be very different than your regular family.  From this author’s US cultural perspective, Ecuadorian parents are more protective and authoritative over their children, even if the children are adults.  Gender roles are more fixed here- women generally do the dishes and cook.  The people are generally more expressive here than they may be in your country.  They are very proud of every bit of their country: the food, the land, the music, the culture, and the history.  You will need to do your best to be as grateful as you can that this family has taken you in, and please them in any way you can.  We discuss boundaries with your families before they agree to host a volunteer, but if you feel they are being overly protective or controlling of you (the way they might be with their own children), you can talk with them and us, and we will work to finding a solution.  Living with a host family is definitely a learning experience, but with there being a language barrier and cultural differences, it will take a significant amount of time, effort, and cultural clashes to feel at home in your new home.  In the end, you will be very happy that you truly got an inside peek into another culture, and your tie to your host family will last a lifetime.

The living conditions are not those that one can know in North America or in Europe. You may not have always warm water or even water. Hygiene may be bad. You will live like the local people.  We hope that this kind of cultural transformation is what you are looking for.