A Volunteer Teaching Vacation

I am doing a bit of a U-turn in terms of my interests and career in education.  All for the better. Trying to be more “on the ground” and give back more than I receive.

Last week I spent a few days visiting schools and exploring options.  For readers that might not know, I live in Guatemala and the needs are immense. Guatemala has one of the lowest rates of school graduation not just in the western hemisphere but the world. People are simply too poor to keep their kids in school.

I’m investigating how I might help.  Also wondering what other teachers think about the idea of a “Volunteer Teaching Vacation” program? Your comments on the feasibility of bringing teachers to Guatemala and setting them up to “give back” and teach those in need are valued. Thanks in advance.

I traveled into the mountains and highlands to Tecpan last week, visiting schools supported by an amazing organization EDUCA PUEBLO VIEJO FOUNDATION. The foundation isn’t just schools but also a medical clinic, a pharmacy, jobs working on the farm and steady employment in the restaurant Epicure in Antigua, Guatemala.

The “finca” where the farm is located has dorms and guest rooms for visitors or volunteers. My idea is to invite teachers to book a week, a month, a few months to come and stay and teach in one of the 3 schools in Tecpan. It’s a wonderful way to get an authentic experience beyond the tourist “traps” of this amazing country. Learn a little Spanish, help a lot. It would also be a huge invaluable professional development opportunity for all teachers involved.

What do you think? Can I do this, make this happen? After my visit, I’ve begun setting up computers  and looking into the use of Rachel at the schools. It’s a small device that serves educational content just like you might access wifi. However, students only get what’s loaded onto the network. But it is a door to the world for these communities and schools without access to the internet. I’m even looking into getting Gif Lingua books as Rachel content available to schools all over the world with a Rachel device.

My next step is to go spend a week or two myself teaching in Tecpan. Troubleshoot. Work out all the answers to all the questions of getting teachers staying there and having a volunteer teaching vacation. So stayed tuned for my next report and follow me along in support as I try to make this happen.

Here are a few pics from my trip up there last week!  Showing the farm, the facilities and the school.

Teacher guest house on the Finca. Safe. Walking distance to the schools.


Dental clinic being set up.

Free medical clinic for the community.

Basic dorms for students and teachers in a large building.

Entrance to the huge ranch.

A typical classroom in the schools.

One of the 3 schools.

Big sky and beautiful weather guaranteed.

The kids. So many kids. So many beautiful smiles.

School principal in their  computer room.

Another classroom.

Me and the computers.

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

2 Responses

  1. Bek Sledge says:

    Hi, I would want to know if family (a child) could join me.

  2. ddeubel says:

    Hi Bek, One of the many questions I’m going to look into while doing the first volunteer teaching there myself. A trial run. Initially, I don’t see any problem with it but your child would have to be old enough to go to school with you and attend the classes at the school. But let me look into it.

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