Back from summer vacation, a teacher at one of the schools in our district is back from teaching students overseas. Molly Thacker– or as her second graders call her, Mrs. Thacker– is back from her trip from Spain, in which she taught children over her summer vacation. By participating in the CIEE Teach Abroad Program, Mrs. Thacker was able to take her talents overseas and help children learn English.
Her adventure to Spain started at the beginning of June and she returned to our area at the end of July. “Even only being in Spain for a little over a month, it was a wonderful experience,” she told us. Below is an interview we conducted for this blog with Mrs. Thacker.
CUSDCCP: What stood out to the most during your visit to Spain?
Mrs. Thacker: Besides the tourist attractions, and nice people all around, what was striking for me, as a teacher, was meeting and bonding with all the children! I loved going in to class every day and helping them, and answering their questions about specific concerns that had with the English language. They are very inquisitive individuals, and really fun to be around. Though, I might say that I might’ve learned more from them teaching me, than me teaching them!
CUSDCCP: Where did you stay at in Spain?
Mrs. Thacker: For this program, we stayed in Madrid, Spain and it was absolutely fascinating! I just love that city.
CUSDCCP: How did the children respond to your teaching style?
Mrs. Thacker: For the most part, they were very responsive and I believe they were quickly able to learn the techniques. When I was first applying for the program, it was important for me to have some flexibility with my teaching style, and my advisor assured me that there were be opportunities to explore new teaching methods.
For example, an unconventional approach we used to learn spelling was to review car magnets, believe it or not! Being prepared with a pile full of car magnets, we handed those out around the classroom, and quizzed each other on how to pronounce the sayings and advertisements, along with understanding the underlying meanings with the magnets.
In addition, we used flashcards quite a bit which helped to provide a more structured approach to their learning.
CUSDCCP: Wonderful! How did students respond to you living in USA?
Mrs. Thacker: Most of the children were familiar with our country, and there were several questions about, “what is it like living in the United States”, “what’s it like living in California”, etc. Basically, just common questions. But, it did help to establish rapport and build trust with the class as we had teaching assignments to focus on during the trip.
CUSDCCP: Do you plan to apply any new teaching methods for your class this school year?
Mrs. Thacker: I do! Besides getting some souvenirs in Spain, which I plan to give to my class this year, I also picked up some interesting techniques from the other expats that were teaching at the same school in Spain. We will see how effective those techniques are as I implement them this year!
CUSDCCP: Sounds great! Maybe we can do a follow-up interview with you at the end of the year?
Mrs. Thacker: Of course!
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Mrs. Thacker and enlighten you on some of her experiences while in Spain this past summer. Stay tuned for our upcoming updates here on the blog!