During two weeks the month of August, Enlace Project friend Rob Sanford came to Nicaragua in order to train local English teachers. Working with El Sauce's Ministry of Education, Rob was able to provide assistance to public and private schools, including the Enlace Project English School staff. In addition to the three workshops that took place in the Enlace Project office, Rob made visits to some of the schools to watch the teachers in action and also taught Enlace Project’s advanced English class.
Rob had previously worked with Enlace Project on constructing a school in the community of Buena Vista. During the trip in February 2014, he had the opportunity to sit in on Enlace Project’s English classes and speak with the program directors to organize the workshop. Being an elementary and middle school teacher in the Honoeye Falls-Lima School District in upstate New York, Rob was able to share his knowledge of education and the English language, as well as his spirit and energy, with the teachers and students.
Specifically, Rob’s workshop focused on classroom management, grammar instruction, and strategies for implementing reading and writing of English in the classroom. Bringing a variety of school materials, such as bilingual books, CDs, and more, he hoped to encourage students and teachers alike in their English studies. He notes in his blog that the school visits provided him with strategies that would help the teachers’ instruction and activities in class.
Rob, in turn, also learned a lot from visiting the classrooms. He comments, “Enlace [Project]’s program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to connect with the people of Nicaragua in a way that both the volunteers and Nicaraguans can benefit from.”
He also had the chance to visit the school in the community of Buena Vista that he had worked on in February. There he introduced himself to the class, some of who were familiar faces from around the community, and talked to the teacher about how the new school was going. This opportunity helped Rob to see the true impact that fundraising and building schools can have for the children.
When reflecting on his experience after returning to the United States, Rob wrote to Enlace Project:
“This experience helped me to improve my own skills as a teacher, forced me to think about how I deliver my own instruction, provided me with a chance to improve my Spanish language skills, and allowed me to make connections with some amazing people!"