My name is Karina Tarazona and I am Peruvian and an elementary school teacher. For ten years, I have worked with children and in this way, I have specialized as a clown across my work with children. I majored in children’s literature in order to work with them in and out of the classroom.
I am currently a professional volunteer in which I am in charge of a project to develop an educational proposal to make the teaching practice of relevant quality and an integral evolutionary development for children of seven schools in the Fe y Alegría network: two preschools, two elementary schools and three high schools, which is in relation to the three domains of learning experiences (Personal and Social Training, Communication, and Relationship with the natural and cultural environment) proposed in the Curricular Bases Preschool Education (las Bases Curriculares de la Educación Parvularia).
- What do you do in your volunteer position working with children?
I first started volunteering by initially accompanying twenty-four teachers in my NGO’s network and their students in the classroom. This was done to see if each teacher employs games and art in its various transversal expressions and which of these areas is given more or less emphasis.
By visiting classrooms, I worked as an assistant teacher and helped with different activities. With this, I had the opportunity to work in a personalized way with the children that require extra support in the classroom.
Today, I will begin training sessions with these twenty-four teachers to help them connect with their “inner child” through various games, and also help them feel motivated through the joy of reading. In this way, they can “cool off” and return to games and the pleasure of reading and then encourage their students in their activities as a means of teaching and learning.
- How has your experience been as a volunteer in a different Latin American country? What has been the greatest challenge?
My volunteer experience has been really satisfying and enjoyable here in Santiago, Chile. I have encountered great people along my way in these past months. Today, I feel welcomed in the Chilean foundation, in the office of Fe y Alegría, and in the seven schools to which I attend.
My biggest personal challenge is definitely getting used to not having my parents physically beside me, but happily, current means of communication are diverse and our communication is very smooth. My biggest professional challenge is to have the twenty-four teachers achieve the sensitized training and come to know games and art as a means of learning so they can carry this out in their teaching.
- How does this experience compare with your previous experience as a teacher in Peru?
In Peru, my experiences have been with children who belong to a different socioeconomic reality and popular sectors in which I find myself working now. But I still encounter that children have the same needs in both countries. They expect their learning to be active and happy regardless of the economic and social reality in which they live.
- How has your world perspective changed throughout this volunteer experience? How do you believe your professional and personal life will change upon returning to Peru?
Even though I have been in Santiago for six months, and upon talking to my volunteer colleagues working in other countries in the Americas, I feel that in the education field the same needs of active and fun teaching and learning exist and a commitment from teachers in order to realize change and attend to students in an integral way from early childhood in such vulnerable sectors. When I return to Lima, I will experience different emotions upon another new change but even so, I am certain that I will remember my experience here in Santiago and seek the best way to remain tied to a commitment to vulnerable populations from my new work in education.