I am in my second year working for CAS. Working at CAS has been a positive experience for me. It has inspired me to grow as a teacher, colleague, and person. Coming to CAS, I was not sure what to expect. However, the first day on campus, I was happily surprised at how beautiful the school is, and how many resources are available to teachers. My favorite thing about CAS is the students. I loved getting to know the students and their families. Students in Guatemala are very caring, and I love being greeted in the morning by their hugs. Another great thing about teaching at CAS is the freedom it offers. As an experimental school, CAS is always open to new ideas and teaching methods. Teachers are encouraged to try new things and teach creatively. Doing so has helped me develop myself as a teacher.
Teaching in a foreign country is a great way to work as well as be a tourist. I have had several opportunities to travel on the weekends to popular tourist spots such as Antigua, Panajachel, and Pacaya Volcano. I was a Spanish major in college, and working at CAS helps me to continue improving my Spanish and becoming more fluent.
Overall, Colegio Americano del Sur is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a job that is full of adventure, culture, and challenges.
After an illuminating road trip across the United States in 2006, I was hungry to embark upon a new journey in my life. Having volunteered at the local YMCA and studied in Spain in college, I was searching for the opportunity to fulfill those two passions―helping others and rekindling my love of Spanish―all at the same time. My conclusions about my next journey prompted me to send my resume out to several schools in Latin America in hopes of finding a suitor. Colegio Americano del Sur and their director at the time, Scott MacLauchlan, was one of the first to respond, and because of their eagerness to make me part of their community and the school’s location in a rural setting, I leaped at the opportunity.
I had planned to stay at CAS for only a year, but three years later, I find myself taking on the challenge of juggling the responsibilities of being a teacher, a department coordinator, and assistant director of both the Middle School and High School. I never could have imagined it after being thrown to the wolves as a naïve second-year teacher such a short time ago.
Professionally speaking, what has brought me back each year are the students and my colleagues. After all, the reason one becomes a teacher is to affect the lives of his students, and that is what I try to do every day I step in the classroom. CAS affords the rewarding opportunity to get to know your students as people, not as numbers on a roster sheet. It’s trying being their teacher, mother, father, psychologist, and director, but it’s an endeavor I am more than willing to undertake because I find it brings me closer to the students.
In addition to having wonderful students, I have had the opportunity to work with some excellent colleagues. Guatemalans, in general, are a very friendly and amicable people, but my co-workers here at CAS have been especially accommodating, welcoming me as an integral member of their community. I was also given plenty of freedom to experiment in the classroom, which was refreshing. When I leave CAS to write the next chapter in my life, saying good-bye to the friends I have made here―students, parents, and colleagues―will be the most difficult part.
Years ago, I remember writing a report about Guatemala in elementary school. Something about the country piqued my interest; maybe it was the bananas, who really knows. What I vaguely recall mentioning was its natural beauty and geographic diversity. After living here for three years, however, I am sure that report did not do it justice. Guatemala is a traveler’s playground, offering myriad opportunities to explore its highlands, lakes, valleys, and coasts. I have traveled to several countries in the world, and though Guatemala has its share of political and social strife, I would contend that its stunning geographical beauty and cultural diversity could compete with most countries in the world. Within a two-hour drive, you can go from walking amidst the cobblestone streets of a colonial town to looking out in wonderment at breathtaking volcanoes looming over indescribable Lake Atitlan. Moreover, only in Guatemala can you find an indigenous culture clinging to their rich Mayan past, a Garifuna culture adding touches of Africa, Arawak, and the Caribbean, and a Ladino culture whose past is steeped in Spanish colonialism. Guatemala has had its own melting pot of sorts, and I find that truly fascinating. So much so, in fact, that I have made it my home for the past three years.