El tiempo vuela—time flies. In just one week I’ll be on a plane flying home to the states. I won’t get too sentimental writing this entry, but I will say that I am going to deeply miss my host family and the friends I’ve made through working at Universidad Alberto Hurtado.
(Looking out over Santiago from the top of Cerro San Cristobal Hill; one thing I won’t miss—the smog!)
(Central campus of Universidad Alberto Hurtado early one morning)
I arrived in Santiago six weeks ago with no formal teaching experience. Thus far, I have cotaught two peer-mentoring courses with Layli, and I have run weekly conversation groups and tutoring sessions for English students. In addition, I have independently led four university classes. ¡Qué emoción! For my first two classes, I reviewed some basic rules of academic essay writing and treated the class periods as writing workshops. As a class, we reviewed prewriting, thesis statements, and body paragraphs.
(Helping a student during my essay writing workshop; thank you, Layli, for the photo)
In my next two classes, I introduced a new unit on "Disasters and the News." I wanted to create a lesson plan that would get the students talking, because they needed to know the lesson’s vocabulary for their next exam. Also, I hoped to lighten the gloomy subject of disasters with a little humor. I ended up creating an activity called "The Day after Tomorrow in Santiago, Chile."
(A slide from my PowerPoint; the photo illustrates what Plaza Baquedano might look like during a disaster)
My assignment for the students was to imagine that an extraordinary disaster occurred in Chile’s capital. Each student assumed one of three roles: news anchor, interviewer, or survivor. Each group created and performed a skit for their classmates (the television viewers). I supplied the survivors with comic props, such as an umbrella and a bus map of Santiago, to animate their tales of survival. The ensuing skits were impresionante—impressive! The students energetically embraced the role-play activity. I was awestruck by their creativity and originality, and overjoyed to see the students both laughing and learning. Initially, I was nervous about stepping into the shoes of the professor. But I have found that teaching (although challenging at times) is extremely gratifying and rewarding. My time in Santiago is limited, but I hope that my students have taken away something from my teaching. It’s the least I can do for all that they have given me.
Students pose for a photo with their professor