Thursday, March 13, 2008
a new adventure?
since i left my "full-time" job in december of 2006, i have been teaching english as a foreign language in my house. its something that i enjoy, i can choose my students and i make my own rules. i had some issues with bilingual schooling - the biggest being that their were no consequences for the students, and the administration would always take the side of parents instead of teachers. it is a sad situation for me that education here is looked on as a lucrative, money-making business. instead of offering quality education, they offer fancy things to draw the (mostly) under-educated "middle-class". a school with computers, or an art program will get more "wealthy" students than a school without them... and it doesn't matter if the computers work, or if the kids learn how to use them. and art, well that's just a joke. bilingual schools are the most expensive - offering english to kids whose parents don't speak the language. the problem? here, in santiago, at least, there aren't enough qualified teachers who really own english. its one thing to speak english, its another to teach science and math in english. so, most bilingual schools have teachers who have no teaching experience, no teaching degree, and, usually, poor english. when i tutored kids afterschool, i would read the 1st and 2nd graders notebooks - you know, where the teachers write the homework to save time - and there were mistakes that not even an english speaking kindergartener would make. i guess i'm a quality snob. and i think education is important. especially in a developing country. i really believe that education is the only thing that can raise a poor family out of the trenches. that said. i have been teaching at home - setting my own prices, making my own program and doing my own thing. but, we've since outgrown the small space of my dining room and we've been receiving a ton of calls for class. right after easter break i will be taking my business plan to 3 local schools in a plan to rent their space in order to grow our little english program. we have a big long term dream, and this would be just a little step in the big scheme of things, but we never thought i'd have to move out of the house so soon. i'm excited and nervous - and writing the plan... completely in spanish. a big challenge. next week my parents and sister are here and then we'll see where we go with this. i hope you all have a great end of the week! (my return key is stuck... sorry about the lack of paragraphs)