Volunteer for the Peace Corps

Sandra Rogers sitting beside Rutilia Lopez in San Jose de Copan, Honduras
Peace Corps Honduras 1985-1987

Dear Teachers and Students,

In recognition of all the displaced workers, especially recent graduates, I’d like to share my experience of volunteering for the Peace Corps.  It’s an alternative to the 9 to 5 job and can lead to an international career.  Given the current economy, looking for work outside the US may be the right move for you! When I graduated from college, I joined the Peace Corps in 1985.  I remember how many of my friends and even professors thought that it wasn’t a good idea for my career.  In fact, I had difficulty finding references for my application because my professors didn’t approve of my decision.  One professor did; she told me that it would be the best decision that I ever made.  She was right.

How was I selected to go?  I had received my bachelor of science in clothing, textile, and design and was accepted to work as a nutrition educator because many of the volunteers in this branch were also working with clothing cooperatives, as income generating projects for destitute women.  I also grew up with the Spanish language spoken at home.  I served in a small village in the state of Copan in Honduras, Central America.  I was a nutrition educator and worked with the local nurse and school teachers to give presentations on health and nutrition, as well as arts and crafts.  Besides working in the village, once a month, I assisted another volunteer in teaching some children in a remote village where there was no formal schooling.

I received three months of language training in Tegucigalpa, as well as cross-cultural communications and nutrition classes.  All the volunteers lived with Honduran host families to help us acculturate to our new setting and learn the language.  We even attended language classes on Saturdays.  Training was extremely stressful but also a wonderful time to meet other volunteers from all over the US.  After passing the language exam and being sworn in, I was placed in San Jose de Copan.  It was an impoverished village with dirt roads, no electricity or indoor plumbing.  However, my village was better than most because past volunteers had worked there and implemented several projects.  The history of collaboration between the Peace Corps and Josefinas (as the villagers were called) contributed to my success as a volunteer.

I continued working with an existing clothing cooperative but provided more authentic designs for the products.  I incorporated the Mayan Indian designs from the nearby ruins of Copan.  In the past, volunteers have helped the villagers produce embroidered clothing with tourist motifs such as palm trees, setting suns, and hibiscus.  I was able to improve on the design of the clothing by utilizing my degree. After I felt comfortable in my new setting, I started other artisan projects.  There were several women who worked with different mediums: clay, seeds, guacales (gourds), and loofahs.  It was such a great experience to work with these women and market their products.

During my two years’ service, I also made great friendships with the Honduran families in my village.  I like to read literature and write poetry and was able to do both of these, as there was nothing to distract me.  I wrote about the characters in the village.  Even after I left Honduras, the images, smells, and music remain with me.

The Spanish language has stayed with me, as well.  When I returned to the US, I was able to teach Spanish to pay for my graduate studies, as a teaching assistant.  I received tuition remission and a stipend plus teaching experience at the college level!  My professors were amazed!  I had to take a few advanced grammar classes to professionalize my speech because the majority of my Spanish language interactions in the village were in the local dialect and not formal speech.

Fortunately, I’ve used Spanish as part of my work since that time.  I  became a bilingual elementary teacher and used my Spanish to educate children in East Los Angeles to become bilingual.  I also worked for an educational publisher that produced Spanish and English as a second language books and materials.

I didn’t realize what irreplaceable gifts I’d receive from serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  The gift of interacting with a culture different from your own; the gift of learning a second language; and the gift of having served others!  I first got interested in the Peace Corps when noticing a poster on the wall in my college.  It said, “Peace Corps, the toughest job you’ll ever love!”  They weren’t kidding around.  It definitely is difficult on your health, your mental health, and your long distance relationships.  Check out these links for more information:

http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whatispc

http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.returned.thirdgoal

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps to promote world peace and friendship.  The Peace Corps’ mission has three simple goals:

  1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Sandra Annette Rogers, RPCV, Honduras, 1985-87

TESOL’s EVO Multiliteracies Session

Greetings Fellow TESOLers,

This is my first foray into Multiliteracies (#evomlit) but my second year with the Electronic Village Online (EVO).  Last year, I co-moderated a session for EVO titled, Internet4YoungLearners.  This year, I’m mentoring the PLE&PLN session for 2011.  Furthermore, I’m participating in two other EVO sessions: Second Life Village and Digital Storytelling.  I’m a constant learner and have taken on technology as my 4th language!

I hope to create my online portfolio during this session on WordPress.  I have so many things to share with you on my blog.  My computer won’t let me unzip files, so I’ll have to purchase that software soon.  That’s the only thing right now that’s keeping me from adding widgets and other fun tech devices to this blog!  For now, I’m adding as many nonzip files as possible.

My multiliteracy’s goals for this eportfolio are as follows:

  1. Create a singular location for all of my online projects/efforts.
  2. Blog about integrating technology into the classroom, including professional development for teaching online.
  3. Clean-up my online presence (close inactive accounts, set up Google alerts, update useful accounts, etc).
  4. Highlight my technical capabilities
  5. Consistently update the eportfolio to reflect recent achievements and/or findings.

Sincerely,

Sandra Annette Rogers

One Flew Over the Internet

Pelican over Treasure Island, Florida

Dear Teachers,

To be straightforward, I’m referring to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. For the last 7 days, I haven’t been able to access Yahoo Groups or this Ning, even worse, my university eCollege course from my computer.  I kept getting blank pages, forever spinning downloads, like they didn’t exist, like I wasn’t a member of the free world.  However, I was able to access these sites from my husband’s computer in the next room.  Crazy!

What did I do to deserve this?  No one had unfriended me, sent me a virus, spammed me, or closed the accounts. It all started with my participation in the SecondLife EVO Village where my avatar would suddenly disappear repeatedly!  I have high-speed Internet and great bandwidth. I could access other sites, even score tests online.  Absurd cyber reality.

What kept me flying over the Internet?  Unable to participate in my new twitter account @teacherrogers.  Unable to share my remanufactured blog/portfolio at https://teacherrogers.wordpress.com/.  I was even unable to post comments on the EVO Moderators/Mentors YGs.  Wanting to share all my new efforts with my fellow participants and the EVO moderators.  I was there hovering.

Three trojans? That’s all my Internet security discovered.  1069 potentially harmful files?  Maybe.  Or was it the renewal time frame of my subscription with McAfee, an Internet security program?  I downloaded a renewal subscription with McAfee and things continued to go slowly with eCollege–one minute to login, another minute to go to one of my courses, another minute to go to my desired location, et cetera.  I ran speed and bandwidth tests. My computer was clocked at 4.0 MB per second, akin to dial-up!

My husband came across a report that indicated that running too many Internet security programs can slow down your computer.  After 7 days of rebooting, defragmenting, deleting unnecessary files and programs, scanning for viruses, purchasing a system booster and tweaker, and running a PC check from Dell, I finally uninstalled McAfee and my computer runs fine!  I thought I’d share my trapeze act, so that you can avoid any dastardly mishaps on the net.

P.S.  I use AVG instead.

Sandra Annette Rogers

Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program

Dear Teachers,

Have you ever thought about telecommuting for work or teaching online?  I just completed a certificate to teach online through my profession.  This yearlong course hosted by TESOL is conducted at the University of Wisconsin via online instruction.  What better way to learn to teach online than taking an online course!  It isn’t a very costly program.  I was able to learn enough from this course to feel comfortable in taking on a new job teaching online at my university.

This course served me well, as I’m excelling at my new job!  Last year, I wrote about making changes, re-educating yourself for the “invisible” jobs.  Trends show that online classes at universities are on the rise, according to the Chronicle of Higher Learning.   This certification is for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) which is part of my profession, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).  However, it is open to anyone from any field.  I was able to design my nonprofit’s website and learn about Web 2.0 tools from this certificate course.

In addition, I’ve been able to get three part-time jobs online!  Now, I’ve gone completely virtual teaching ESL for a company in Israel, teaching reading online for the local university, and scoring tests online.  My nonprofit is wholly online, too.  I’ve even become an online mentor.  I started mentoring ESL instructors in Italy for TESOL and mentoring individuals looking for work for my nonprofit’s mission.

Check out the site:

Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program

Your blogger,

Sandra Annette Rogers

Greetings!

I’ve been wanting to create my own blog for some time now.  Currently, I blog for a nonprofit, and I have to follow their mission statement with each thought.  I’m excited about talking to other educators about integrating technology into the classroom. My other blog had limited widgets and plugin capability, so I’m thrilled to finally cross over to the wonderful world of WordPress.com and all its technological temptations!

I also look forward to working with my future students on this blog.  I’ve envied other teachers’ blogs long enough; it’s time for me to make my own classroom blogspot.  At the eve of my new teaching/learning curve, I lift my glass of ginger ale and toast the beginning of blogging for my teaching career.  I can only promise that I’ll be consistent in trying to educate and challenge both myself, other teachers, and my students.

—Sandra Annette Rogers

is TeacherRogers.wordpress.com