Universidad de Magallanes
17 de Mayo del 2017

Red de Formadores de Docentes de Inglés en Chile

Getting to know a student teacher from southern Chile.

Hello, my name is Diana Álvarez Agustinos. I’m from Punta Arenas, the capital city of the XII region of Magallanes. I’m a 23-year old student at the Universidad de Magallanes, enrolled in the fifth year of the English Pedagogy course. My short-term interests are mostly related to my future profession. I truly hope to successfully finish becoming a teacher of English this year, in order to start working in schools next year.

Why do you want to become a teacher of English as a foreign language?
First of all, I thought about becoming a teacher when I was in high school. I was part of a school that had some teachers who were always concerned about our health, feelings, problems, and other issues that involved our education and I valued their work very much. Later on, I became interested in learning a new language in order to express myself in a much broader way, and that is the main reason why I decided to study English pedagogy. I strongly believe that teachers have a great impact on students’ lives.

What is your story as an EFL learner?
Well, to be honest, my story as an EFL learner really started when I started at the university, because I did not take the process of learning English seriously when I was a teenager. So, the first year was quite demanding. We had to deal with classes only spoken in the target language, but for me at least, it was quite interesting and amazing to realize that your ear gets used to listening to English and then you feel more confident to start speaking in the foreign language. I am glad to say that I feel that this story will never end, for the reason that individuals never stop learning, even more so when it is about an issue that evolves through time, just like a language.

What do you like the most about the program you are in? What opportunities does it offer?
There are several aspects of this program that I really appreciate, such as the focus on communication and skills, the incorporation of new subjects related to complementary areas of our profession, such as special needs, methodology for students of different ages, English for specific purposes, among others. Besides, a great advantage of studying in this program is the opportunities we have to take international exams and get closely related to other kind of courses through the American Corner Program, which is one of the best tools for us without a doubt.

If you were giving a talk about your program to fourth medio students, what would you tell them?
If that was the case, I would probably tell those students that in spite of the fact that pedagogy is undervalued by the Chilean society, it is a profession that once you are into it, you realize that it is not a piece of cake… in fact, it is quite the opposite. So, if they are willing to learn English, it would be beneficial for them to enroll in this program, due to the fact that most of the students who enter into this program only for the English language, sooner or later become enchanted by the pedagogical aspect, so it is really worthwhile.

What do you think are the challenges faced by student teachers?
To be honest, I would say that there are numerous challenges that student teachers have to face every day. Sometimes there is no enough time, for the reason that you have to cope with subjects at university, classes at schools, daily lesson planning, checking tests, projects, or any kind of assessment tools. On other occasions you may be so motivated thinking about the incredible activities you would like to lead but you cannot find the necessary resources for that. Moreover, teaching practices are not paid in Chile, so you have to invest a lot in this process. Nevertheless, I believe that all student teachers who are deeply engaged with the profession do not mind very much making all these efforts, just for the satisfaction of doing your job right.

Describe how you see yourself as a professional in the future.
Personally, it is a bit difficult for me to describe myself in the professional area in the future. I can see myself working in public schools, for the reason that the first thing I want to do is to return the benefits of a scholarship given to me by the Ministry of Education. Under the same view, I really see myself working in “isolated” places, where there may be a lack of human personnel, resources, or maybe the “system” does not often reach them. Finally, the only thing I’m sure about, is that no matter the school, the city or the status, I will be undoubtedly learning as much as I can from the context and from my future students and colleagues, just as I have been learning from my teachers, classmates and students until now.