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NMSU?s Go Teacher program hosts appreciation event

More than 50 students from Ecuador enrolled in New Mexico State University?s Go Teacher program had an opportunity to thank their mentors May 12 during a teacher appreciation event at O?Donnell Hall.

Go Teacher student Lenin Tirado of Ecuador poses with mentor Eva Luevano, an instructor at Doņa Ana Community College, during a teacher appreciation event Tuesday. (NMSU photo by Adriana M. Chavez)

The Go Teacher program at NMSU started in January 2013 and is funded by the Ecuadorean Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to improve the English-language proficiency among the country?s future teachers. At the completion of the eight-month program, students obtain certification to teach English as a second language.

Kansas State University is the lead Go Teacher institution. NMSU is one of three U.S. universities currently working with Kansas State to implement the Go Teacher program. The other participating universities are the University of Kentucky and Valparaiso University.

As part of their learning experience, Go Teacher scholars are teamed up with teachers from Mesilla Elementary School and Alma de Arte Charter School, and professors and instructors from NMSU and Doņa Ana Community College so that scholars can observe them in the classroom.

?This is a very special project,? said Cornell Menking, associate provost of NMSU?s International and Border Programs, during Tuesday?s event. ?It?s part of a massive educational reform in Ecuador, and it?s an experiment on a scale that very few of us have ever seen. It?s an investment in teachers on a scale that?s pretty unusual.?

Deb McCormick, ESL coordinator for DACC, congratulated the Go Teacher students for completing the first part of their practicum.

?I?m very thankful they (DACC instructors) were able to provide a rich and meaningful experience for the students who are able to attend their classes,? McCormick told students during Tuesday?s event. ?I hope that this partnership continues to thrive and will be renewed.?

Student Lenin Tirado spoke at Tuesday?s event to thank his mentor, Eva Luevano, an instructor at DACC, and described his experience in the program.

?It?s not about going to the classroom and observing what?s going on,? Tirado said. ?It?s not about technology and stuff that we can take back to Ecuador. It?s more than that. It?s passion, it?s love, it?s dedication. Something that I?m taking back already from Eva was the real caring and love for those who need a teacher and guidance.?

Ashley Ryan, the Center for English Language Programs liaison in the College of Education, said Tuesday?s event was to thank administrators and cooperating teachers who supported Go Teacher students in the program?s Service Learning/Practicum component.

?It is important that the Go Teachers scholars, and NMSU as a whole, show their appreciation because we are a caring community, and the Las Cruces community has welcomed our students with open arms,? Ryan said. ?The Service Learning/Practicum component of the program was rigorous, both for the scholars and the cooperating teachers, therefore we must recognize the time and effort put into this important piece of the larger program. Las Cruces schools, Doņa Ana Community College and NMSU welcomed our students into their classrooms and shared valuable information about teaching with them. Without their support and understanding this would not have been possible.?