Highlights: In terms of teaching, there were so many highlights. I ended up working with 1st grade through juniors in high school, so one of my favorite projects stretched the age groups. I had some of my high school classes write and illustrate simple books on topics that the elementary school children were learning in English. The older students then visited the younger students’ classrooms, acted as teachers to small groups of kids, read them the stories, and talked them through the translations and comprehension. The result was phenomenal. The younger students were extremely excited for something different and the older kids saw the results of their work in English. I was so proud of them!
Outside of school, I really enjoyed the traveling that I did get to do. Most volunteers traveled a lot more than I did, but what always took me by surprise was the hospitality. My host family went out of their way to find places to go with me. I met some Chilean students studying to be English teachers during an English camp, and their families invited me into their homes for events as important as weddings. It was wonderful to feel as if I was a part of so many different families.
Morning/Afternoon: When you arrive at your placement, you will sit down with your host teacher to create a schedule. There will be some fixed hours (especially if you have to share a classroom), but you should have some say as well. For example, my host teachers were very sweet about offering me later classes rather than ones at eight in the morning. So, my mornings and afternoons were spent teaching with a couple of dispersed free periods to plan, prepare, or relax. I also had a two hour lunch break each day and 15 minute breaks in between classes. Some days after classes I worked with students preparing for English competitions or held an English conversation club for advanced students.
Evening: While it is possible that you could be teaching night classes (some schools could have middle school during the morning and high school at night), I had my nights completely free. I usually tried to jog and then ate the small dinner that they call “once” with my host family. I usually stayed in my room relaxing, watching TV in Spanish, or planning, but you could easily go out. My host teachers often invited me for “once” or “asados” (barbeques) on the weekends.