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International Teachers

All Walks of Life: Teaching with Participate

Maria Ponce was ready for a change.

Maria, who is from Cuenca, Ecuador, has more than ten years of teaching experience in her home country, and it can be tough for experienced teachers to apply to teach in the U.S.—possibly leaving tenured positions.

“I don’t have any regrets about coming here. I made my decision, and I came,” Maria said.

Oftentimes, experienced teachers like Maria are hesitant to apply to Participate’s cultural exchange program because of their age—but teachers in our program have experience that spans decades! Currently, our oldest international teacher is 64, and the youngest is 23.

In Cuenca, Maria taught English at a global school, but beginning this year she’ll be teaching Spanish in a dual language program at Coats Elementary in Harnett County Schools, North Carolina. Her favorite part about teaching English is watching the growth of her students in the classroom while reading and writing.

“I love to see how much they like to learn,” Maria said. “At the beginning they are scared, but after time they become confident in the language.”

Franklin Pinos, on the other hand, is an Ecuadorian teacher who graduated in 2016 with just a few years of teaching experience. This fall, he embarked on his first journey to the United States to teach Spanish immersion as a co-teacher at Howard L Hall Elementary in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Despite some apprehension at starting from zero, he knows it’s a great chance for a teacher just starting out.

“I’m going to learn many, many new things,” Franklin said. “This is a great chance to gain knowledge and gain experience.”

Franklin sees cultural exchange as a chance to teach a love of learning to new students, and to share his love of teaching with other educators with different perspectives.

“If you love teaching, do this experience,” Franklin said. “If you love this profession, it’s a great experience because you learn new things. I know it’s a great chance for me.”

Participate welcomes teachers of all ages to come to the U.S. to develop professionally and become more powerful global educators. Teachers share their stories and culture with students, taking what they learn back to their colleagues and schools in their home countries. Participate teachers in all walks of life bring back methodologies and real-life experiences that give them unique, once in a lifetime opportunities—so why not take the leap?

Be bold, learn without limits with Participate—apply here.