Bienvenidos estudiantes nuevos 2017

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 27 feb. 2017 5:15 por Carrera Inglés PUCV   [ actualizado el 27 feb. 2017 5:18 ]
Con una entrevista a Constanza Ureta, estudiante egresada en el año 2016, queremos dar la bienvenida a nuestros estudiantes nuevos. Lean aquí sobre estrategias exitosas de cursar los nueve semestres de la carrera sin contratiempos:

Q: Constanza, you entered our program in 2012 with a beginner’s level of English and managed to pass all language classes at the first attempt, finishing the programme in nine semesters. What’s your recipe for success?

A: My way of facing this program was to be persistent, so I tried to always work really hard, to face all my problems and all my insecurities. I also was very responsible, I did my homework on time, I investigated more. I also got help from my teachers and my classmates, I think that was key to me. Also, I wanted to leave the university as soon as possible. I think that to be emotionally strong was also really important because when I started I didn’t know anything about English, almost anything, and there were several times in which I thought “this is not for me” or “I’m lost here” but I had to deal with it and continue and in the end I learned that it was for me.

Q: And what do you think gives you this emotional strength?

A: My family, my friends, and my desire of being a teacher.  Yes, and that is one of my goals because I think that when you do something with a goal set, you’re going to do whatever you have to do in order to get there.

Q: Yeah, I think that something key to me was to be autonomous, I did a lot of extra work at home and at the library and… well, for example I remember that I glued some color cardboards on my bedroom to learn things, vocabulary, I investigated about some authors, I spent some time at the library, I did different things that helped me to complement what I was learning here. So I think that it is key to teachers here to continue promoting autonomous learning by, I don’t know, giving complementary readings, complementary materials, some work that we can do at home.

Q: you mentioned that peer support was key  

A: Well, at the beginning since we were just getting to know each other, we were just English 1 working together outside the classroom. But after some time I made some friends who were from English 2 or 3, so when I had some questions, or doubts, or something I didn’t understand because of, I don’t know, the language or something, I asked for help from those who were more advanced. They helped me a lot. I also remember some grammar sessions in which I offered my help because I’m really good at grammar. I remember some English sessions we had with our classmates in English 1, 2, 3 and 4, we went to the library and we started solving exercises. I just remember that.

Q: What about the role of motivation?

A: I said that before. For me, to have a clear goal was my motivation and to get ahead with these nine semesters on time was also another motivation. We all know motivation is important. I remember there were some times in which I cried a lot after receiving some grades, for example, and I talked to some teachers I received some hugs, some “you’re gonna do it” and that was what I needed at that moment. At some point I also thought I was going to fail literature because in the first test I got a 3,9. I remember. So I kind of gave up, I missed some sessions but then my friends made me realize that a grade was not… the end of the world. You have more instances to improve so then in the next test I got a six point something and they were right. Then we had English 7 and 8 and I really liked the way in which we were evaluated in those courses. For example, in written English, with our writer’s logs, we had some essays… I liked the variety of ways in which we were evaluated. Well, in English 8 I liked it even more because we had debates, academic oral reports, which were a kind of preparation for our oral report at this semester. With feedback, I had that experience but not in a language course, it was in Theories, in which we had to write some essays, we gave them to the teacher, she corrected them and then we had one class in which she was calling one by one, each student had like ten minutes together, with feedback, questions and that was really useful.

There is a phrase in Spanish that I always remember when I have to think about how am I going to be as a teacher which is “La vaca no debe olvidar que alguna vez fue ternero.” When I was a learner from high school up to here, I experienced a lot of good moments, bad moments, the worst moments ever, the best moments ever. I experienced being anxious, nervous, happy, sad, I don’t know. A lot of things that made me be who I am right now. And as a teacher I don’t want to forget that I experienced what my students are going to experience when they are teenagers. We as teachers have to help them, so I’ll try always to remember that, to be with them, help them and to be not only their teacher of English but also their mother, their friend, their guide.

So I think those experiences that I have lived have helped me to have a clear vision of how I want to be as a teacher. Not only teaching language, also to be a role model. I’ll not always be there for them but I have to teach them that they are capable of learning on their own, that they have the tools to do it, so I’m going to give them the empujón but they have to learn how to do it on their own.

Q: Right, finally, my last question. Is there anything you would like to say to your younger peers?

A: Well, after I finished these nine long semester and I’m finally graduated, I think that for my future colleagues who are now starting this program, I think that, as I experienced before, you will face different difficulties in life that will beat you down and you will feel that you don’t belong in this program, but I think that you should have a clear goal, you have to think that doing what you love the most is the best reward you can get in life, so if you really love teaching, you really love helping teenagers in their process, you have to be here and you have to continue working for that. I think that you shouldn’t give up ever, if you believe that you want to be a teacher, you have to work harder so you can be the best version of yourself.

Another advice, you have to rely on your teachers and your classmates, being a teacher means to work with people, not only the language itself. You have to know how to work with others and to rely on the rest that are there for you. You need to ask for help when you need to. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or asking silly questions because you are learning and you are learning to help your students to learn in the future. 

I think that you have to enjoy this stage in life as much as possible. Being at the university gives you a lot of instances of growing, it opens your mind, which is something that in school we do not experience. I also advise you to cultivate your mind, in a way that you have to learn not only about English or pedagogy but also about a lot of things, for example, history, what currently happens in our country, etc. Be happy with what you do, so you reflect your happiness and that will make your students happy, which is something really important for our society.

Thank you very much for the interview!