Renee, Katie and I were able to stay and participate in some of their English learning games, which gave us a great perspective as teachers. The topic for the night was the conditional tense (“If”, “would”…), and the members were asked to complete sentences (in English) in the conditional tense. For example, we were asked to add to the sentence: “If I woke up one morning as Beyonce, I would…” Some of the answers the Chileans came up with were hysterical! It was a ton of fun to be involved in their event, and as an English speaker, I enjoyed helping to perfect their responses. In addition, I appreciated their patience in helping us with our Spanish as well. It was a great night! I am hoping there will be room in our schedule next Monday evening to return.
Not only am I being exposed to the language everywhere I turn, we are continuing to get a glimpse into the education system. We met with professors from the Education department at Universidad Mayor today, which turned into an incredibly rich conversation. We discussed teachers’ certifications, special education systems, teachers’ pay scales and different education programs/degrees offered in both the U.S. and Chile. I find it interesting that it is extremely competitive to obtain a job in private schools in Chile, while public schools are more preferred in the United States. In other words, teachers in Chile earn a much higher salary in private schools than in public schools. In contrast, teachers in the U.S., specifically New York, who work in the public schools have the opportunity to climb their pay scale and join the Retirement System. Teachers in private schools remain at a constant salary (as far as I know).
In addition, from my understanding, many schools in Chile end a bit later in the evening, and some parents have the opportunity to choose a school for their child based on their work schedule. In the U.S., the school days are generally consistently between 7 or 8 AM through 2 or 3 PM. Some students in Chile are in school until 6 or 7 in the evening! If a parent works later, they may prefer their child attends a school with a later dismissal.
We have a field placement tomorrow at Colegio Benjamin Claro, a Special Needs Centre. This school is a public school which has already begun to adopt the inclusion method, so I am interested in finding out what this looks like in Chile. More on this later.