Leon, Nicaragua TEFL Class Student Experience.

My experience as a TEFL student in Nicaragua

 

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When I first arrived in Nicaragua to get my TEFL certification, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I came prepared to learn, work hard, and of course enjoy this beautiful country. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I would learn, how hard I would work, and how much I would grow to love Nicaragua.

First, what I did not prepare for – the work! I knew that 180 hours in 4 weeks would be a heavy workload, but I don’t think I fully understood what it meant. However, all of that work is there for a reason. If I hadn’t been working that hard, I don’t think I would’ve learned so much. I spent four weeks absolutely consumed by TEFL, and I came out the other side much more confident in my teaching abilities.

Class began at 8:30am every morning, Monday through Friday, and went until 4:30pm, with an hour-long break for lunch. During the first week, we also spent two evenings at the Centro de Idiomas, observing the teachers’ methods and approaches to teaching.

The first week of classes our instructors tried to ease us into our immense workload. However, there is only so much easing in that can be done when completing an intensive four-week course. So, by the end of the first week we were already working on our own lesson plans.

After our four hours of observation the first week, and many hours working out the details of my lesson plan (with a great deal of input from my instructors), I was ready to practice teach in my first classroom. I was quite nervous to teach my practicum, as were the rest of my fellow TEFL classmates; there is something very intimidating about stepping into another teachers’ classroom while also being observed by our own TEFL instructors. I would say of the three classes that I taught at the Centro, I was by far the most nervous the first time. After that, I wouldn’t call it easy but it was certainly less stressful each time. Although each practicum was nerve-wracking, I consider them to be one of the most valuable parts of the course. Since we had the opportunity to teach in a very official setting, I gained a lot of confidence, as well as invaluable practice teaching.TEFL-Nicaragua-Volcano-Boarding-Cerro-Negro

While this course had a large workload, this does not mean we didn’t have our fun as well. Weekend excursions were a great distraction from the homework we had waiting at home, as well as the bonding experience for our little class of four. We passed an enjoyable afternoon at local restaurant La Cucaracha, where we enjoyed their famous 40-year-old bean soup! I had a memorable weekend at the beach, where I relaxed, got a tan, and was surprised by the massive waves while attempting to swim in the ocean. Perhaps most memorable was the final weekend of the course, when we went volcano boarding down Cerro Negro. Nothing like a death-defying experience to solidify the bond of our class!

Despite the considerable workload and the stress that came with each practicum, I am so glad that I decided to take this four-week course in León. Not only did I share memorable experiences with people I will never forget; I gained the invaluable ability to teach across different cultures, languages, and ways of life.

My experience as a TEFL student in Nicaragua

Clara Malone

Graduating class of March, 2014 from International TEFL Academy Nicaragua

Clara hails from the Midwest region of the US, and is a graduate of Indiana University.  In the past , she taught English at the TEFL Academy in the evenings, and is the volunteer coordinator for their volunteer project in the Guadalupe neighborhood.  

 

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