Community and Teaching English – Kerry Anne Rogers

During our class on Friday night, we talked a lot about our initial impressions of Las Juntas. Everyone had something to say about the overwhelming sense of community within the town. On our very first day, we saw a group of people rush to help someone whose car had stalled in the middle of the street. Initially, we were all surprised by this support, but once we started interacting with the community, we realized it was just what people did here. They want to get to know the people in their town and more importantly they want to help them.

View of Las Juntas from Student Dorms at The Community Center

For my service project I worked at the elementary school, on the first two days I helped to clear a path in the garden so that new plants could be planted. This task was specifically important to this school because they focus on sustainable thinking. As such, the administrators try to give them exposure to green initiatives such as growing food and composting. On our third and last day of community service we assisted the English teacher with his lessons. For many students, this was the first time they had ever heard a native English speaker. It was interesting to see how they perceived out presence in the classroom. It was definitely a welcome environment but they were also very curious about what we were doing in their classroom.

As someone in the education program, this was particularly interesting to me because we need multiple clearances in order to step into to a school. But here I was able to just walk in and teach a lesson. I definitely think there is unevenness in that we were seen as fit to teach students simply because we were from America,  which would not necessarily be the case if the situation was reversed and we were Costa Rican students trying to teach spanish to Americans. Overall I grateful for the experience, I thought our community service experience was much different than that of our classmates, it allowed me to perhaps gain a better grasp on my privilege as it relates to going abroad.

Kerry Anne Rogers