Teaching About Trash

Highlights of my Time Teaching in Isla Mujeres

~ By Abby

After three months of island life, it is hard to imagine living anywhere else. I have my Tortillería down the street, an amazing juice shop around the corner and an endless supply of avocados and mangos; life is pretty good here. Isla Mujeres is also a very rewarding place to teach English. For many islanders to thrive in this tourism-based economy, it is crucial for them to know English, and I am happy to have been part of this process.

There are several moments during my time teaching that I especially loved. I made a school-wide scavenger hunt for my fifth grade students at Cesar Mendoza. Watching the students run from clue to clue in anticipation for the prize and seeing their excited faces made me so happy. It was then that I realized how much fun teaching is.

Abby1For the summer camp my theme was mangroves and coral reefs and how they are affected by climate change. Thankfully, the camp was walking distance from a large mangrove forest. After teaching the students about pollution and littering, I took them to the mangroves and had them pick up trash. Acción Isla, a local environmental organization, provided trash-grabbers, bags and checklists for the students. Each group had a specific area to clean. Then they counted every piece of litter and put them in categories. It was unbelievable the amount of garbage they found. One group found 36 six-pack rings in only a couple feet! This hands-on adventure helped the students understand just how big of a problem littering is on the island. After seeing all of the garbage, hopefully they will think before littering.

I am sad to be leaving Isla Mujeres but I know that I am leaving behind students who are a little more excited to continue to learn English or are a little more aware of their environment. This is a great way to be part of the community, and I can definitely see myself teaching English in the future.