Learning English to Teach English

High School teachers from Mexico spent five weeks this summer at UTSA to develop their English-language skills and to develop their pedagogical knowledge and skills to take back to their own classroom.

English teachers from Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Veracruz who have been sponsored by the Comisión México-Estados Unidos para el Intercambio Educativo y Cultural (COMEXUS) took classes from both the Office of ESL Services staff and College of Education and Human Development.

Several of these students shared their experiences with the Office of ESL Services. Laura Rosalía Mejía Arredondo, Maria de Lourdes Arellano Regalado, Juan Miguel Carlos, and Sandra Torres have all been English teachers between 10 and 15 years, but the experience at UTSA taught them that learning is a lifelong process.

Here’s a glimpse of they experienced:

What were you hoping to accomplish during your time at UTSA?

Juan: In general, I wanted to be a better teacher by practicing English and gaining a better fluency and to learn new teaching strategies to help my students and other teachers at home.

What are you taking away with you after your time at UTSA?

Laura: I’m leaving feeling really encouraged and motivated. It’s changed my point of view for my students – I now think my students have the possibility to get a scholarship to do something like this just like I did. For me, the experience here at UTSA was really amazing.

Maria: I’m taking with me a lot of new ideas. I think I have improved my English and, especially, my listening skills.

What were some things you learned while you were here?

Sandra: How much the Mexican culture is found in Texas, and how friendly and talkative Texans are.

Juan: I have learned so much, including using new vocabulary expressions and everyday language. I’m looking forward to teaching about culture and using different strategies and using technology to motivate students.

What will you tell your students about your experience/what methods will you implement?

Laura: I’m going to use it all, but I think I’ll especially work on critical thinking skills. For students, it’s necessary for them to have self confidence in their English-speaking abilities.

Maria: I learned some new activities to help them with listening skills. To me, it was an honor to see the campus, resources. In Mexico, we are far from this so I think I’ll show them pictures. Students often think things like this are unreachable but I want to show them all we can do.

Sandra: The importance of English for them now and in their future lives…and that learning is a life term task.

What were some of the highlights of your trip both on and off campus?

Sandra: I loved the facilities in general and the teaching from professors. The library is an amazing place to focus and read and the Rec Center is a dream for those who love exercise. The campus was a respectful and open atmosphere. Off campus, I went out to dance to country music one night and had a blast with some of my friends!

Laura: I really feel at home. People in San Antonio are really friendly. It’s

Juan: Spending time here has been amazing. We teach, but we are also students. UTSA is a great place to grow.