Miranda participated on the custom program, “Guatemala Cross-Educational Experience” with West Chester University, May 2019. Reflection and photos from Miranda:
I thoroughly enjoyed my two week service trip to Guatemala. We spent our first week in Santiago Atitlan at a school named Escuela Oficial de Educacion. We were separated into groups and put into three different classrooms. The teacher I was paired with asked me to work one-on-one with a student who has Down Syndrome named David. On the first day working with David we stayed in the classroom and worked with the class. On the second day, David came to school crying and he was just not having a good day. So, I asked his teacher if I could take him out of the classroom and work with him so there would be no distractions. I was able to see huge improvements with his focus and attentiveness. It was so rewarding to see that I was making a small impact in his life. David also left an impact on my life by constantly having a smile on his face even if he wasn’t having the best day. When he arrived at school he would always greet me with the biggest hug. This school will always hold a special place in my heart. The students always came to school with a smile on their faces and ready to learn. The teachers were also always smiling and ready to teach. They were asking us what they can improve on. These teachers are truly miracle workers because they have little resources but they use what they have to the best of their abilities.
Our second week we spent two days at the Official Urban School for Special Education in Quetzaltenango. This school was a lot different from the first. It taught grades kindergarten through sixth. The class sizes were a lot bigger.
We also were able to learn more about the culture on our weekends. We were able to experience a hot sauna, we made tortillas, we learned about immigration and migration, and experienced a Mayan ceremony.
Overall, this trip has taught me so much as a future educator. I learned that I don’t need a SmartBoard in my classroom to be a successful teacher. It has taught me to look at resources differently and to see all of the possible usage. I will be forever grateful for this experience and hold the children and teachers I encountered in my heart as I move forward in my own education to become a teacher.