Monday, March 4, 2019

"Everyone teaches, Everyone learns."

It's taken me more than four years to get to CIS. I retired in June of 2014; four days after my last day of work, I was in Moldova as a Peace Corps Trainee. That two-year stint, along with studying at the Himalayan Institute for almost a year, plus family responsibilities, kept me occupied and always with a reason to postpone coming to El Salvador. 

I arrived in San Salvador on January 1, 2019, started training as an ESL teacher using the Popular Education approach. Popular Education wraps around language learning, highlighting the reality of the country and its people. In the classroom, we discuss the environment, gender (in)equality, water issues, gang violence, to name a few. Together, as we learn language, we explore the causes, responses, and possibilities of Salvadoran reality and how it affects us, individually and as a community.

I signed on to teach in Cycle One and was offered the Intermediate B class. Students go through Basic A, B, C and Intermediate A to get to Intermediate B. "My" students include an attorney, a bookstore owner, an insurance agent, a library archivist, and an office worker. Each of them is motivated, intelligent, committed, dedicated to making the most of the ten-week cycle. And lots of fun! The CIS English School motto is "Everyone teaches, Everyone learns."

As Cycle One moves into the last six weeks, I realize that I don't want to leave. I'll be here for Cycle Two, as well. Yes, the Wisconsin winter weather is a factor, but more so is the joy of teaching, being taught, and sharing in the profound mission of the CIS. 

By CIS Volunteer, Ellen Swan.

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