Centering Thoughts in the Center of the World: Student Teaching in Quito, Ecuador
Baumann, Jennifer Lola Marie
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To prepare for my student teaching term at an Ecuadorian high school, I first tried to recall my own experiences in high school. What kind of student was I? Who were the teachers that I liked? Who were that teachers that I learned from? What was I thinking about during class? And most importantly: how would I feel if I saw a new teacher standing in the classroom when I returned from holiday break? Reflecting on these questions during the long plane ride from Detroit to Quito made me cognizant of something that I did not fully understand until three months later when the plane touched the ground on my return flight to Detroit. The three months that I spent in Ecuador made me realize just how much I had changed since my own high school experience. Indeed, my time spent student teaching gave me an arena in which to synthesize all of the new skills that I acquired from my college education; and for this reason, it proved to be the ideal Senior Individualized Project While student teaching, I began to use my knowledge of literature and education that I had accumulated over four years of classes, and I was able to build on my cultural and linguistic skills that I had learned about in the classroom and tested during study abroad. While these skills were instrumental to my success, the areas in which I most noted a change from high school was my improved self-confidence, interpersonal skills, motivation, and love of learning. For that l owe Kalamazoo College a large debt of gratitude. As I reflect upon the knowledge that 1have gained while student teaching, I realize that the true testimony to the importance of my college career is, not that it has enabled me to go abroad and put my knowledge in motion, but that it has made me elated to return and share my knowledge with the community of friends, learners, and teachers that welcomed me on my return to Kalamazoo College.
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