Why I Chose to Teach English in Panama

Teach English in Panama, leave the United States

The opportunity to teach English in Panama was one that came to me through those who taught me how to speak Spanish. As a traveler, teaching English in a foreign country is an appealing way to trot to globe — yet my motivations go beyond this. 

I’ve spent the past five weeks getting to know my children, controlling (or attempting to control) a classroom in another language, and involving myself in the Las Cruces community. It feels like I only arrived yesterday despite how immersed I’ve become in Las Cruces.

Since my pueblo is so small, daily walks lead me new conversations and relations. While I wish I had more time to spend, these seven weeks are allowing me to share the same gifts my professors granted me.

While the fear that my work here could be for nothing, as with any volunteer program, I’m happy knowing they have a year-round English teacher.

Instead of teaching for only a short time and hoping the students learn something by the end, we enrich their English-learning experience as native speakers.

Learning Enterprises sends people to many countries  — but Panama appealed to me for the reason I’d be able to communicate. I love that coming here, I was able to break the communication barrier and be not feel like a stranger. 

Teach English in Panama

So, why did I choose to teach English?

Language is a tool. It inspires and can change a life. Simply knowing I couldn’t be here today without having learned Spanish makes me realize how grateful I am for the professors I had and the choices I made.

I can only hope that the children here can take something from us and use it to progress their future, their education, and their goals.

Clearly, we cannot change the lives of each student through our classes — it’s up to the maestros who teach math, science, and biology who enrich their lives as well.  Sometimes certain subjects or teachers can make profound impressions and I hope was able to provide that.

El día de Los Niños y Niñas a La Esuela – It was a fiesta!

While at times it can feel like a bothersome worm in my ear, I’ll miss hearing the word “teacher!” flying through the airwaves. Whether heard in the classroom by eager learners or as chorus of voices echoing from the school van zooming by, it feels like a term of endearment.

This summer has — cue chiche — changed my life. Not only did I get to share my language, but I got to involve myself in a new community, navigate another culture, and think about what I want from life next.

With the opportunity to teach English in Panama from Learning Enterprises, I’ve certainly learned how I can use my knowledge to impact the lives of others. Oddly enough, knowing a language is all you need.

Teach English in Panama
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Applications for the 2019 Learning Enterprise Programs open November 1st!

Click here to check out volunteer opportunities in Panama, Thailand, Poland, or Mongolia, among many other locations. They also accept donations that keep the volunteer-run organization free of program expenses, making international volunteering more accessible.

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