I am doing my practicum at Colegio Menor de San Francisco de Quito. Colegio Menor is a bilingual private school just outside of Quito. There is both an upper school (middle and high school) and a lower school (elementary school) on the campus. However, I am working strictly in the elementary school with a fourth grade English Language Arts teacher. As I attended public school and my first practicum was at a public school, this experience is something completely new for me.
I visit Colegio Menor every Monday and Wednesday for three hours. While I appreciate being able to consistently fit this time in my schedule, I wish that I were able to attend more frequently. An interesting aspect of the working in a bilingual school is that the students rotate teachers based on subject. Thus, on Mondays, my teacher only works with one class. However, on Wednesdays, she switches between two different classes. It was definitely a challenge for me to get used to this schedule. It also took me longer to feel as connected with the class that I only see for about 2 hours on Wednesday. Although I now understand my CT’s schedule, I still sometimes get confused with the various different switches the students make throughout the day.
Aside from the schedule, a typical day of teaching in my classroom is pretty similar to one in a school in the United States. We begin each day with a greeting. Then, we will work on reading, grammar, and writing. Every other Monday (Tuesday for the other class), the students go to the library for 45 minutes. Teaching ELA in a bilingual school has definitely helped highlight some of the common errors and difficulties that non-native speakers have with English. I believe this will assist me in meeting the needs of these students in the future.
I am very fortunate to have a cooperating teacher that has a similar teaching style to my own. She also trusts me and thus, gives me more responsibility. In fact, starting next week I will be teaching at least an hour every week. I cannot wait to continue to challenge myself and grow through this unique experience.