When applying for TAB, I immediately began to think about what I wanted to get out of this trip. The more thought I put into it, the more I realized that it really didn’t matter where I got placed because my aspiration where the same; broaden my teaching horizons. What I mean by this is that I hope to learn how education functions (i.e. how teachers teach and how students learn) in a different country and within a different culture, and use that knowledge to inform my own teaching. All of these thoughts were running through my head even before I had accepted into the program and placed within a placement.
When I found out I was placed in Goiânia, Brazil I was so thrilled. This was a culture I knew pretty much nothing about, which meant I had the most opportunity to learn and grow. Even though the idea of going somewhere I was totally unfamiliar with scared me, it also excited me. When am I ever going to get an opportunity like this again?!
I am most looking forward to learning the language here, which is Portuguese. I was actually surprised how many people believed that Brazilians spoke Spanish (I wasn’t one of them!). I think that be putting myself in the situation where I do not understand the language and have to learn it will help better serve my students who are ESL, as well as those who aren’t. It’s kind of like getting a little bit of an insiders scoop on how to best guide your students as they learn a new language that they may or may not speak as their first language. I say may or may not because, as an Early Childhood Education specialist, I fully anticipate teaching young kids new elements and words in English, even though it may be their first language.
As much as the teacher inside of me is doing backflips with anticipation, so is the traveler in me! I mean, I wouldn’t be doing myself justice if I didn’t at least talk about doing the cheesy tourist things before hand in Rio de Janeiro. This country has some many beautiful people, places, food and drinks to experience that I don’t think I will ever get enough. Having been playing to role of tourist in Rio de Janeiro the last few days, I’ve already had some of the best food I’ve had in my life, stared at some of the most beautiful people and seen some of the most amazing sites. All that in 4 days? I can’t wait to see what the next ten weeks has to offer!!