Teach English in Guatemala: Work with your heart and contribute to education

Having Impact As An English Teacher Volunteer

 

Our passionate, hardworking English teacher volunteer coordinator, Gracia, answers our questions after working with us for a year. Read about her experience with us and get an insider look into our work with volunteers from around the world who are all contributing to our overall impact on the community of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.

 

Gracia with English Students in Santiago

Gracia with English Students in Santiago

 

Q&A with Gracia: 

 

One, Two…Tree!: Thanks for speaking with us, Gracia! To give our readers some context, can you explain a bit more about your role with us as Volunteer Coordinator? 

 

Gracia: Yes! I’d love to share my experience with you. I worked with One, Two… Tree! for a year as the volunteer coordinator, which meant that I was introducing people to the organization and recruiting them to come to Santiago Atitlán as teachers. 

 

The challenging part about restarting the project in the middle of the pandemic was finding ways to adapt to changing schedules and other situations that were limiting our normal work in public schools. Besides recruiting volunteers, I was also a teacher, and since I am an ESL teacher, I helped build the curriculum for our adults’ beginner level. I also helped develop the Coffee Terminology course we created for our friends at CoAtitlán. As coordinator, I was also consistently searching for opportunities to expand our impact and reach through connections with other initiatives in the community. 

 

English Class Graduation Day

English Class Graduation Day

 

One, Two…Tree!: What impact have you seen One, Two…Tree! have in the community of Santiago Atitlán? 

 

Gracia: I have seen our work positively impact the students in their return to school after more than 2 years of distance learning. Public schools just recently  started gradually returning to teach in person this year, and both students and teachers have told us how motivating it is to receive classes on a new subject that is difficult and taught in a different way, since we plan our lessons with dynamic activities and hand out fun worksheets as homework, which is not the usual methodology for other subjects. 

 

I’ve also seen our impact on our young and adult students. Some of them were telling me stories of how they started learning English years ago with teachers Gary and Gergana (previous One, Two… Tree! teachers), and when they saw the posters I was handing out around town about the reopening of our lessons last year, they felt happy and immediately decided they were joining again. I am proud to see them now going from beginner to intermediate level, being able to have better job opportunities, connect with other people, and hopefully even teach English to children or share what they know with their peers.

   

One, Two…Tree!: What was your biggest accomplishment during your time with One, Two…Tree!? 

 

Gracia: I feel really proud about how we approached the challenges of working with irregular schedules from the public school system due to the changing restrictions and limited human resources. This year, opening our Learning Center in Santiago has been an amazing learning bridge, as it gave us a closer approach to the community, which helped us solidify our classes for adults with a better retention rate than previous groups. It is a nice way for volunteers to connect with other young people and make local friends. In the future, we may be able to go back to full work focused in public school  and may not need the center, but for now, this was my biggest achievement because it was the best way to maximize our impact despite the limitations we were facing. Our students and friends from the community are beyond happy with this project and they openly have told us so. 

 

Teacher Volunteers in Santiago Guatemala

Teacher Volunteers in Santiago Guatemala

 

One, Two…Tree!: What would you like people to know about One, Two…Tree!? 

 

Gracia: That it is a rewarding experience, you learn a lot and have the opportunity to join a team where you can share your ideas, work with your heart, and contribute to education. Seeing children motivated about school again and happy about English classes makes you feel inspired. That’s our driving force; that’s why we feel excited about planning creative lessons and looking for ways to improve. 

 

One, Two…Tree!: What would you like volunteers to know about working with One, Two…Tree!? 

 

Gracia: This is the perfect program for committed people who want to invest some of their time, energy, and creativity in education. It is a great way to gain new skills, train to be a future tutor or teacher, and improve your Spanish! We work for about 20 hours every week, but we also know of many different fun activities around the lake, and have connections with projects where you can can learn about nature and the local culture. 

 

One, Two…Tree!: What is your hope for the future of the organization? 

 

Gracia: I hope to see One, Two… Tree! replicating the projects we did this year, expanding our collaboration locally, strengthening the team through local teachers (our students who could hopefully join our volunteer force in the future by teaching for a few hours), and growing in Central America and Mexico. 

 

Community development in Santiago Atitlan

Community development in Santiago Atitlan

 

One, Two…Tree!: What was your favorite part of working with One, Two…Tree!? 

 

Gracia: Doing what I love: teaching. Also, working to make English more accessible through creative teaching methods, working with other motivated and knowledgeable volunteers like Dani, Gersom and Carmela, amongst others, who were committed and passionate in their contributions to our work in Santiago. I’m going back to Guatemala City after a year, to continue my studies and get more experience in my field, which is Psychology, but in the future, I certainly want to volunteer with One, Two… Tree! again. 

 

One, Two…Tree!: Thank you so much for all of your hard work, passion, and commitment, Gracia! 

 

If you would like to join our team as an English Teacher Volunteer, please email us here: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

 

One Two Tree Volunteers Guatemala

One Two Tree Volunteers Guatemala

Collaborating and Learning Together at Our New Learning Center

Our Learning Center as a Collaborative Space 

 

Our English Learning Center opened in Santiago Atitlán in February with the intention to provide more English classes to more students, both children and adults of all levels. Now, we also use the space for various community development and learning opportunities. 

 

There are currently not many available spaces for workshops and cultural activities in the area, so we wanted to open our doors for various events where the people of Santiago can come and enjoy a safe learning space. 

 

Our main values are collaboration, initiative, adaptability and respect. We follow these values in every thing we do from teaching, to meeting new people, to hosting workshops and working with local families. Our ultimate goal is to support community empowerment and to provide a platform for intercultural exchanges in Santiago.

 

English Learning Center Workshop

English Learning Center Workshop

 

Contributing to the Community’s Empowerment  

When we are looking to collaborate on an event or workshop, we aim to focus on the community’s empowerment first and foremost.

In May, we collaborated with a local writer, Vincent Stanzione, who has devoted his life to write about Santiago’s culture and traditions.

Over the span of two days, Vincent encouraged the audience to write their stories, since he believes that we all have a story to share. He shared mindset tips, writing habits, and he explained character roles in stories, such as the character of the hero as a role to be inspired by when writing. He shared some literary resources and engaged the audience through various writing exercises.

 

Writing Workshop in Santiago

Writing Workshop in Santiago

 

The audience was full of people of various ages from the community. Some of our teen and adult students from the Center attended, as well as a large group of students from a nearby highschool. Some other local writers also attended to get to know and collaborate with other passionate writers.

A few of the special guests that attended were local writer Alexwho shared a beautiful poem during the event; Señora Argentina, who is one of the hosts for our volunteers and was a teacher in the village for many years; Isaías, who is the librarian of Puerta Abierta and is publishing his very first children’s book this year called Matz, focusing on Tz’utujil culture. All of our English teacher volunteers also attended and participated in the workshop, as they are an integral part of the development of our Learning Center, and they were also able to take the opportunity to learn from the talented people of Santiago.

 

English Teacher Volunteers at Workshop

English Teacher Volunteers at Workshop

 

Building A Safe Space for the Community

Overall, the feedback after the event was very positive, and a few participants asked to be part of further workshops. We encouraged them to come up with a few ideas to lead potential workshops with the support of our English teacher volunteers who will assist with the organization of the events.

Currently, we have another event being planned to introduce participants to the art of mural painting run by a local artist, Bárbara Sosof.

These events are a great opportunity for our volunteers and our teachers, as we get to know even more people in the community, acquire new skills (as teachers we love to learn too!) and are able to have an even bigger impact in Santiago.

If you would like to be part of our Learning Center, please email us here: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

How To Plan an English Lesson for Children in Guatemala

How to Plan an English Lesson 

 

We have many resources that our teachers can use to help them plan their lessons both in the public schools and in our Learning Center. Some of our volunteers have never taught before, but not to worry – we have plenty of resources and ideas for you to use. 

 

Teaching in the Public Schools in Santiago

 

When we teach in the public schools, we have guidelines that we follow for each lesson. There is a master binder in the office for all of our teachers to review and use as a resource to help them prepare for each class. Generally, each class has a mix of vocabulary and basic grammar concepts. Some of the topics that we teach are the colors, fruits and vegetables, descriptions of people, school supplies, how to introduce yourself, animals, and many more. 

 

Lessons generally include a warm-up that can be a song or a short game – many of our teachers like to get creative here and do different activities to make the students feel welcome and comfortable. The next part of the class is focused on vocabulary words, and then an activity to help the students practice and remember these words. Each lesson is between 30-40 minutes, which varies depending on the school. 

 

Lesson Planning in Guatemala

Lesson Planning in Guatemala

 

Teaching at the One, Two…Tree! Learning Center

 

We use the same structure and resources to plan lessons for our Learning Center. We also include other topics, such as countries and continents, life on a farm, family members, the environment, and more. Since we have 1 hour to teach each lesson at the Center, we take advantage of that extra time and we practice vocabulary through more games and songs. 

 

An English Lesson Example 

 

I’m Teacher Gracia. I’ve been volunteering with One Two… Tree! for a year, and this was a lesson I planned for our teen group at the Center (kids between 10-14 years old) to learn about the Natural Wonders of the World. 

 

Teaching English in Santiago Guatemala

Teaching English in Santiago Guatemala

 

Every day, we start by taking attendance during the first 5 minutes. Then, I like to start with an activity or something interactive to get the students engaged right away. 

 

Getting Creative with Lesson Planning

 

We had previously learned a song in our Countries and Continents lesson which went well, so before the class, I searched for a few new songs on YouTube and I found one that I thought the students would love. 

 

English Lesson Planning

English Lesson Planning

 

I brought my phone to class, then I played the song a few times and asked the students to write down the lyrics in their notebooks. They absolutely loved it! 

 

After that, for each new lesson in the Wonders of the World module, we would sing together to start the class: They are Asia and Africa, North and South America, Antarctica and Europe, finally Australia.   

 

After this activity, I handed them a worksheet about the “Natural Wonders of the World” (a free worksheet I downloaded from an educational website www.liveworksheets.com). We read the new words, practiced the vocabulary and learned the meaning in Spanish. Then the students had time to complete the worksheet, matching the pictures with words such as forest, cave, river, and more. 

 

For this lesson, I also needed a computer to show the students a video about the 8 wonders of the world, so I brought my laptop. I put subtitles in English on and after each place was featured in the video, I paused it to give the students time to match each place like Niagara Falls, Mount Everest, and Amazon River, with the country they are located in on their corresponding worksheet. This helped the students practice the new vocabulary in different ways and solidified their understanding of the concepts through interactive methods.

 

Teaching English in Guatemala

Teaching English in Guatemala

 

Having Fun with the Students

 

After these activities, we had some extra time which we used to decorate a folder the students use to keep track of all the activities and worksheets we’ve completed over the past 4 months. 

 

We always finish the class talking about the topic we learned or playing a game and having a good time. Once the hour is finished, we say goodbye and see you next time! 

 

English Students in Guatemala

English Students in Guatemala

 

Does this Sound Fun and Interesting to You? 

 

Volunteer with us this year!  

 

We are seeking more English teacher volunteers to come to Santiago, Guatemala to help us expand our programs, reach, and impact on the community. 

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with us, please send us an email to: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

A Day in the Life of an English Teacher Volunteer

Are you wondering what a typical day in the life of an English Teacher Volunteer with One, Two…Tree! looks like?

 

Join us as we follow the footsteps of a current volunteer on a typical weekday.

 

Morning

 

It is a beautiful Monday morning and the alarm goes off at 7:00am. We get up, take a shower, get dressed and head downstairs to enjoy a breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. Once we finish eating, we pack our bags and head out on foot to the school where we will teach our first English class of the day.

 

Santiago Guatemala

Santiago Guatemala

 

The classes usually start between 7:30 and 8:00am, and each volunteer teaches in two different public schools during the week. Today, we are teaching a group of 9-10 year olds vocabulary about farm animals. We sing Old McDonald Had A Farm to keep them engaged and have some fun while learning – the kids love this song! 

 

Teaching English in Guatemala

Teaching English in Guatemala

 

Lunch time 

 

After the morning classes, we go to the market to grab some food for our lunch and head home, where we meet the other volunteers to eat together on the terrace with beautiful views of the volcanos. We have a bit of time to chat, relax, and review the classes for the afternoon.

 

Local Market in Santiago Guatemala

Local Market in Santiago Guatemala

 

Afternoon

 

At 4pm, we go to the One, Two…Tree! Learning Center, which is about a 10 minute walk from the house, to start the classes with the kids. There are three different groups: the 6-7 year old kids, the 8-9 year old kids, and the teenagers. Today we are teaching the 6 year olds and we have some fun games and visuals to engage them in learning the names of family members.

 

After an hour, the kids’ classes end and we have an hour break where we discuss the lessons with the other teachers, share some ideas, and plan for the next day. Then, we go for a walk to get a chocofruta, a delicious frozen fruit stick covered with chocolate and nuts – a typical Guatemalan snack! 

 

Volunteers Lesson Planning

Volunteers Lesson Planning

 

Evening

 

At 6pm, we welcome the adults to the Learning Center for the evening classes, which are divided into the Beginners group and the Advanced group. Today is Grammar Day, so we are teaching them about modal verbs and the simple past tense. The adult learners are always so interested in soaking up as much knowledge as they can, and are asking us lots of questions to ensure their understanding.

 

It is now 7pm and all the classes for the day are finished. We walk back home to see our host family, Lolita and Chonita, and we enter by saying ‘Ixcola’ (ix k’ola), which is used to say hello when you enter a place with more people. It generally means ‘I’m home, how are you?’ in Tzutujil, the Mayan language spoken in Santiago. Other towns speak Kaqchikel, but Santiago, San Pedro and San Juan speak Tz’utujil. 

 

We have dinner with the host family today, but some other days we can cook and eat alone, or enjoy a meal with the other volunteers on the terrace or out in the town. 

 

Eating with the host family in Santiago

Eating with the host family in Santiago

 

In the evening, we chat in the courtyard with Lolita and Chonita, as they always ask us about our day and it’s also really nice to spend the evening outside because it feels like a forever summer night. 

 

We start to get sleepy after a long day of hard work teaching English to all the amazing students in Santiago! We head to bed to get some rest for the next day’s wake up call bright and early! 

 

Volunteer With Us This Year! 

 

We are currently seeking more English Teacher Volunteers to join us this year to support our growing Learning Center and English programs in Santiago. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact us at: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com  

 

 

Things to Do in Santiago & Around Lake Atitlán

You may be wondering…
What activities can you do during your free time in Santiago? 

 

Over the years, our English Teacher Volunteers have gotten involved in many different types of activities in Santiago and around Lake Atitlán. Some activities include weaving classes to learn the traditional Mayan methods of weaving, or if you prefer something more active, there are multiple hiking trails with stunning views of the lake and the volcanos (you can even hike the volcanos too!) On the lake, many people enjoy going kayaking or paddle boarding. You can get involved with the local community and learn Tz’utujil, one of the Mayan languages spoken in the area. You can even try cacao and participate in a Mayan cacao ceremony.

 

There are tons of different activities to get involved in and fill up your spare time while soaking up the culture and the stunning nature in the area. 

 

Here are some of the activities that you can look forward to: 

 

Weaving Classes: 

 

There are many different organizations you can take classes with and support their weavers:

  • 13 Batz’ Weaving Co-op  
  • Cojolya Association of Maya Women.
  • Maria, Cojolya’s master weaver, has a store near Parque Central where you can learn all about traditional costumes
  • Embroidery lessons with Mujeres de Maiz
  • Trama Textiles (Women’s Weaving Co-Op in San Juan)

 

 

Volunteers Learning Guatemalan Weaving

Volunteers Learning Guatemalan Weaving

 

Hiking/Active Experiences: 

 

If you like the outdoors and physical activity, then these activities are for you! From hiking volcanoes, to paragliding, to camping, here are some of the best options and tours to choose from.

 

  • Hike Volcano San Pedro, Toliman or Atitlán
  • Do a bird-watching tour around Mirador Tepepul to spot the quetzal, the national bird
  • Experience the Canopy in San Pedro
  • Go Paragliding in Panajachel 
  • Go Horseback Riding 
  • Do the beautiful Nariz del Indio Sunrise Hike 
  • Hike the Lower Mayan Trail 
  • Walk from Tzununa to Santa Cruz
  • Explore Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve
  • Explore Cerro de Oro
  • Experience a traditional Temazcal (sauna)
  • Go to the solar pools in San Pedro
  • Camp in the woods and watch the sunrise at Chuitnamit – we have local friends who are guides and can take you on this tour – simply ask us about it when you’re here! 
  • Go to Mirador Kaqa Siwaan in San Juan la Laguna (a beautiful lookout point.)

 

Outdoor Activities in Lake Atitlan

 

Water Activities: 

 

Since you’ll be living on this beautiful lake, you might as well take advantage of it! These are a few popular water sports that you can participate in. 

  

  • Kayaking – Santiago Bay Kayaking & at Restaurante el Maná in Santiago 
  • Cayuco-ing – Paddle as a local to see the sunrise from the other side of the lake
  • Scuba Diving – The only dive shop on the lake, ATi Divers, is located in Santa Cruz, and it is linked with La Iguana Perdida
  • SUP –  Some of our volunteers have enjoyed the SUP experience at Free Cerveza Hostel in Santa Cruz la Laguna or at La Casa del Mundo in Jaibalito. Both hotels rent their equipment at affordable rates so you can explore the surrounding areas. 

 

 

Kayaking on Lake Atitlan

Kayaking on Lake Atitlan

Culture/ Local Life

 

Immerse yourself in the culture and local communities surrounding the lake to gain a deeper connection to and understanding of Guatemala and the Mayan culture. 

 

  • Visit Chichicastenango, Central America’s largest outdoor market. 
  • Do a Coffee Tasting Tour at CoAtitlán
  • Visit the local market of Santiago. It is a vibrant place full of fresh vegetables and fruit. Most of what’s available is locally grown, so you can enjoy seasonal produce, try new flavors, and support the local economy. 
  • Visit Santiago Central Park. Besides being a nice spot with a 3D map of the lake in the middle of the park, it’s surrounded by street food which is very popular amongst locals, and worth trying. You can try tostadas, dobladas, chuchitos, tamales, rellenitos, atol & patín (traditional food from Santiago Atitlán made with tomato sauce and spices). 
  • Visit the Catholic Church and Parque de la Paz in Santiago to learn about recent history
  • Try a chocofruta (frozen fruit dipped in chocolate). They are sold across the Lake, just ask the locals
  • Visit an artisanal brewery in Santiago, owned by a family from the USA who has been living in Santiago and getting involved in community projects for many years. 
  • Eat at Germinaciones or Le Antigua, both are cosy places to try creative cuisine and hang out with friends. 
  • Have ceviche in one of the many cevicherias in Santiago
  • Enjoy a picnic of barbeque and tacos at the local parks. Everyone loves going to hang out and eat at the picnic tables with lake views and surrounded by nature. 
  • Visit Hotel Bambú and it’s beautiful garden
  • Play basketball or soccer with local friends and students from our Learning Center. 

 

 

Volunteers enjoying local life in Santiago Atitlan

Volunteers enjoying local life in Santiago Atitlan

 

Classes/ Workshops: 

 

Learn a new skill such as pottery, Tz’utujil, or painting while gaining even more knowledge of the local culture. 

 

 

 

Workshops and Classes in Lake Atitlan

 

Support the Community 

 

If you are interested in sustainable and ethical tourism during your stay here, there are a few options for you to have an impact in the community, beyond the work you are doing with One, Two…Tree! 

 

 

 

Volunteers supporting Guatemala

Volunteers supporting Guatemala

 

There are so many ways to get involved in the local community, immerse yourself in the Guatemalan culture, and soak up the nature of beautiful Lake Atitlán. 

 

When you are in Guatemala, we can help direct you to any of the organizations or companies we mentioned above to ensure that you feel comfortable, safe, and happy during your entire time with us! 

 

Volunteer With Us This Year! 

 

We are currently seeking more English Teacher Volunteers to join us this year to support our growing Learning Center and English programs in Santiago. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact us at: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com  

 

How Our Partnership with Cojolyá Empowers Our Community

Who is Cojolyá and What is their Impact? 

 

Cojolyá is a non-profit organisation in Santiago Atitlán that began during the Civil War in 1983. It has developed into an association of artisans who create Fair Trade products for sale locally and internationally. Cojolyá has a holistic approach that, includes providing educational programs for the children of the community, as well as personal and professional development for the artisans. 

 

Cojolyá programs currently support ten children and adolescents by providing school supplies and scholarships. Lately, because of the restrictions in public schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic, assistance programs have provided the students with a tutor in addition to regular educational supports.

 

Cojolyá is having a direct impact on the lives of the artisans, their families and the general community of Santiago, and it is also supporting Fair Trade efforts.

 

nglish Teacher Volunteers in Santiago

nglish Teacher Volunteers in Santiago

 

How Does Our Partnership Work?  

 

One, Two…Tree! has partnered with Cojolyá to ensure that both organizations are able to have double the impact in Santiago. 

 

Beginning last year,  One, Two… Tree! teamed up with Cojolyá to provide students with English lessons. It was immediately apparent that the collaboration was having a positive impact. The in-person classes were a success and the students enjoyed them. Now, with our very own Learning Center, the students will be able to attend lessons and take advantage of more opportunities to learn and practice English. 

 

Similarly, Don Antonio, Cojolyá’s artisan founder, and Carina, the administrator, both attend adult classes at the center as well. 

 

Learning English in Guatemala

Learning English in Guatemala

 

This year, One, Two… Tree! is collaborating on various activities with the students of Cojolyá every month, which provides them with different ways to learn and practice English that are outside the traditional methods of education. For example, every month One, Two… Tree! hosts a cultural celebration in English featuring a different theme each time so that the students can learn new vocabulary in a fun and unique way. 

 

One of the volunteers, Kelly from Greece, was also a part-time volunteer with Cojolyá when she was here earlier this year. Some of our other volunteers have collaborated with Cojolyá’s partner artisans by taking weaving classes and buying Cololyá’s products, since Cojolyá is a weaving association part of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization). Doña María, one of the partner artisans, really enjoyed the visit from the One, Two… Tree! volunteers, so she dressed them all in traditional clothes! 

 

English Teachers in Guatemala

English Teachers in Guatemala

 

What is your Role as an English Teacher Volunteer? 

 

Apart from in-person teaching and activities in the classroom, it is exciting to watch volunteers get creative and find new ways to present English materials to the students.

 

For example, this year, volunteers Elinor from Belgium, Alizée from France, Kelly from Greece, Carmela from Spain, and Gersom from Guatemala have all been helping us plan the cultural activities and curriculum for the students. Through the use of fun activities, these volunteers ensure that each student receives equal amounts of attention and opportunities to practice their English. Carmela is also a part-time volunteer math tutor with Cojolyá.

One, Two… Tree! is proud to be partnering with Cojolyá to provide students with the opportunity to learn English to increase the overall impact of education and development in Santiago Atitlán. 

 

Teach English in Guatemala

Teach English in Guatemala

 

Volunteer with us this Year! 

 

One, Two… Tree! is seeking more English teacher volunteers to come to Santiago, Guatemala to help expand the programs and reach of the organisation, and boost impact on the community. 

 

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with One, Two… Tree! and Cojolyá, please send us an email to: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com  

 

Nonprofit partnership in Guatemala

Nonprofit partnership in Guatemala

Our Partnership with Puerta Abierta to Increase Our Impact in Santiago

 

Who is Puerta Abierta? 

Puerta Abierta is another non-profit in Santiago Atitlán focused on education and development of the community.

 

They have opened the first creative school in the area that focuses on education through innovative programming for students at the kindergarten level through to grade six. They also have a community library that is open to other schools and programs to use as a resource to support their curriculums. 

 

School in Santiago, Guatemala

School in Santiago, Guatemala

 

What Does Our Partnership Look Like?

At the beginning of this year, we began our partnership with Puerta Abierta in order to bring more programming, resources, and development to Santiago. 

 

We are providing English lessons to all students at Puerta Abierta, and providing bilingual materials to support their learning as well. Our English teacher volunteers are sharing their time with Puerta Abierta to ensure that these English classes are being delivered to their students on a regular basis. 

 

In exchange, Puerta Abierta has provided us with books and materials to help our teachers with lesson planning and developing activities for our Learning Center so that they are well prepared and equipped, especially since some of our volunteers do not have an education background. 

 

Amanda, the founder of Puerta Abierta, has also prepared a workshop as a resource for our teachers to learn techniques when working with younger students. We are so thankful for the opportunity to learn from their work in alternative education in Santiago. 

 

English Teacher Volunteer in Guatemala

English Teacher Volunteer in Guatemala

 

Our Impact

This partnership means that both organizations can have a stronger impact. Amanda Flyer, the founder of Puerta Abierta talks about our impact and work together:  

 

«At the beginning of 2022, we were overjoyed to learn that One Two…Tree! would be partnering with the Puerta Abierta Learning Center to offer English classes to our students. 

 

Our collaboration with One Two…Tree! goes much further than teaching English. My favorite moments of observation have been the mutual exchanges of inquiry and curiosity passed between volunteers, teachers, and students regarding culture, lifestyles, and countries of origin.  We have been fortunate to receive volunteers from Greece, Spain, Belgium, France, and different areas of Guatemala in just a short span of time.

 

One Two…Tree! volunteers have also been collaborating with ongoing cultural exchanges that the Puerta Abierta has established with schools in the United States. I have found great joy in working with Carmela on our preschool exchange with a school based in Boston, MA.  I’m grateful for Carmela’s extra set of hands and creative outlook which have enhanced our interaction with young children in Guatemala and the USA.» 

 

Puerta Abierta Partnership

Puerta Abierta Partnership

 

Joining Forces 

Our partnership is beneficial for both nonprofits to do their work efficiently and effectively. Juanita Chiviliú, the Director of Puerta Abierta explains what this partnership means for her work. 

 

«As the director of an unconventional school in rural Guatemala, finding creative, dynamic, and empathetic English teachers proves to be a great challenge. So having the link this year with One Two…Tree! has been a great opportunity for our center to continue to provide an education full of love, joy, and celebration of cultures with our students.

 

Personally, I love to see the friendship that is cultivated between the volunteers and the students and teachers during the English classes. Teachers and children always want more, which means that they enjoy it and want to learn, so both institutions are achieving our goals.”

 

English Teacher Volunteer in Santiago

 

Your Role as a Volunteer

Mary Chiviliu Ajtujal, a sixth-grade teacher with Puerta Abierta talks about the role of One Two Tree…! volunteers within this partnership. 

 

«It has been nice to have the teachers of One Two Tree…! in the class during these months. For the students, it has been very positive to see different people and learn about other cultures while learning another language. It has helped them a lot since sometimes it is difficult to meet and talk with new people. 

 

The teachers have made it possible to resume learning the English language. It has been difficult lately with the hybrid education modality (online and in person, due to the pandemic) to maintain continuous learning of this language, but the teachers have been very open to accommodate the changes that this modality represents. All the teachers are very grateful for the openness, passion, and creativity that they bring to our center in this way and in other ways.»

 

We are so grateful for and excited about this partnership with Puerta Abierta and all of the possibilities it brings to the students and the community of Santiago Atitlán. 

 

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with us and Puerta Abierta, please send us an email to: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com  

 

 

Community development in Santiago Atitlan

Community development in Santiago Atitlan

Our First English Learning Center in Santiago, Guatemala!

Our English Learning Center opened in Santiago Atitlan in February to provide more English classes to more students, both children, and adults of all levels.

 

Our Learning Center Brings More English Classes to More Students!

 

At the beginning of February, the doors to our new Learning Center opened in Santiago, Atitlán. Since our work was affected by the pandemic due to the constantly changing rules around classes and restrictions in public schools, we decided to open our own center in order to bring more English classes to more students! We will still be bringing our English teachers and curriculum to schools, however now our classes can continue regardless of government restrictions in public areas. 

 

English Teacher Volunteers at our Learning Center

English Teacher Volunteers at our Learning Center

 

We found the space in a central location, close to the schools we work with. With the help of our current volunteers, we painted the building and cleaned it up in order to open our doors quickly because we were receiving lots of inquiries from families in the community. We have already begun teaching our English curriculum to both children and adults in the center.

 

Volunteers Painting Our Learning Center

Volunteers Painting Our Learning Center

 

How the English Learning Center Works

 

The Learning Center is open every day and classes are available for students during after-school hours. Classes for children are available between 4-5 pm, and teens and adults can join us for classes between 6-7 pm. There are three classrooms in the center, meaning that multiple groups can study simultaneously. We currently have two classes for each age group; one is for students at the beginner level, and the other is for more advanced levels.

 

English Classes in our Learning Center

English Classes in our Learning Center

 

We are using the same curriculum as we have been using in public schools. This curriculum follows the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) programming and includes lectures, activities, short quizzes, and some homework assignments. Some of the materials, such as books, that we are using in the Learning Center are provided by Puerta Abierta, a nonprofit organization that we partner with here in Santiago. These materials help to enrich our English classes and enhance the experience of the students.

 

What Does This Mean for Our English Teacher Volunteers?

 

One Two…Tree! volunteers will still work with us for approximately 16 hours per week, however, now those hours will be divided between working in public school classrooms and teaching at the Learning Center. These hours will vary depending on the current government restrictions for public schools, as well as the demand for classes at the Learning Center.

 

English Teacher Volunteers in Santiago

English Teacher Volunteers in Santiago

 

The Learning Center will provide our English teacher volunteers with a home base that they can help develop and contribute to. So far, our volunteers have helped us set up the space and ensure the classrooms are optimized for learning at all levels.

 

The Space Will Be Open to the Community

 

Our Learning Center will also be open to other local programs and organizations. The intention behind the Learning Center is to create a safe learning space for everyone in the community. For example, Instituto Tzanjuyú, the secondary school that we partner with, has lent us chairs, tables, and whiteboards, and in exchange, they will use the space to host a chess club and guitar lessons for their students and anyone who wants to join.

 

The Learning Center will also be a recycling point for the community. Our friends at Amigos del Lago will come every Monday to pick up everyone’s recycling. Currently, the community throws everything out together in the garbage, so not only are we providing a space for recycling to be easily dropped off and picked up, but we are also educating the community on the importance of recycling and what items can be recycled in our programming.

 

Adult English Classes in Santiago Atitlan

Adult English Classes in Santiago Atitlan

 

We are excited to continue to develop our Learning Center to ensure it is an open space for the whole community to come together and learn.

 

If you are interested in learning more about our Learning Center or volunteering with us in Guatemala this year, please contact us at: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

What does Teaching English in Guatemala look like in 2022?

Our Objective in 2022 Is To Provide More English Lessons in Guatemala

 

English teacher volunteer in classroom with children in Guatemala

Teacher Pauline with students.

 

You may be wondering what our programs and teaching English in Guatemala will look like in 2022, entering a new year with the pandemic still ongoing. 

 

Our objective remains the same: to introduce English lessons in public schools in Santiago Atitlán, one of the Maya indigenous communities on Lake Atitlán, in order to help kids and teenagers have the best possible education. 

 

At this moment, we are still collaborating with elementary schools in Santiago, and we are also establishing a relationship with our first secondary school, where our volunteers will teach English to children of various ages in 2022. Through these lessons, we are preparing the students for their English classes in school in the following years. They can also use this knowledge in their future professional lives, as the tourism industry in Central America is one of the main contributors to the local economy. 

How Does the Pandemic Affect Volunteer Teachers 

 

English lessons in Santiago Atitlan

English lessons in Santiago Atitlan

 

The pandemic impacted our work greatly, however, we did reactivate our programs in 2021, and we are looking to expand our work again to maximize our impact in Central America as soon as possible.

 

Currently, our teaching schedule in public schools is subject to the local authorities’ decisions regarding covid restrictions and safety measures. Due to this, we have part-time opportunities available, which gives you, the volunteer, more flexibility to work on personal projects or part-time work. We also have full-time opportunities available for those who want to immerse themselves completely in our work and help out where restrictions allow.

Enhance your Volunteering Experience in Guatemala

 

Volunteers participating in local projects in Santiago, Guatemala

Volunteers participating in local projects in Santiago, Guatemala

 

Although classroom time in schools may be restricted due to changing safety protocols, we also teach English to adults and teenagers through collaborations with local projects and encourage volunteers to participate in community-building activities in other ways as well.

 

There are multiple chances to help the community grow and to immerse yourself in local culture by getting involved in local projects, such as taking care of the environment, helping at a local community farm, coffee cooperative, or artisan cooperative.

 

We have collaborations with Cojolyá, a collective of artisan mothers; Cope Atitlán, a coffee cooperative; Amigos del Lago, an environment preservation program; and ADECCAP, a local community farm, and waste management program.

 

Become an English Teacher Volunteer with One Two…Tree! in 2022

 

Although the situation on the ground in Guatemala is constantly changing, there are many opportunities for volunteers to join us in 2022.

 

There is still a great need for support in the communities we work in and your volunteer experience with us will not go to waste. Whether you are teaching in classrooms or helping with local projects, we are dedicated to the development of Santiago Atitlán.

 

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering in Guatemala this year, please contact us at: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

 

Volunteers in Guatemala

Volunteers in Guatemala

Aviso importante

 

Debido a los últimos eventos nos vemos en la necesidad de comunicarles algunos cambios que se tomarán por parte de la ONG y los países en los cuales desarrollamos nuestro trabajo, con el fin de garantizar la seguridad de todos nuestros voluntarios y estudiantes.Seguir Leyendo