Career Day: A Job Well Done
By Ewa Carter
Tiny students of the Rural Education Institute of Mexico sat enthralled as a computer technician, an architect, a social worker, a banker, and a marketing and sales expert took turns speaking to their class. Career Day in both Jalpa and La Palma was a great success. As a teaching intern myself, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to hold the attention of little ones—with the children running around and getting distracted by literally everything—but our guest speakers did a phenomenal job in animating the students and encouraging creative thinking. The speakers brought with them homemade posterboards to present their work, as well as tools of the trade and even uniforms and hardhats. The props were an enormous aid in teaching about potential future careers, but the enthusiasm of our guest speakers was what really brought the message home.
Thank you, Manuel Herrera Campos, Ana Lenz, Shannon Goldberg, Diana Linares, and Juan Manuel Correa, for bringing your knowledge and passion for your work into our classrooms. The students are bound to remember your advice for years to come.
As Mexico has become the second largest economy in Latin America, there remains a stark inequality in the country’s education system: youth in rural Mexico simply do not have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. The problem is partly financial (there are few high schools in the campo, and the government does not provide transportation for rural children to attend urban schools), and partly cultural (in rural areas, literacy rates are low, and education is not always a priority). The Rural Education Institute of Mexico exists to help fill this gap and to give children and youth living in rural areas the incentive and means to continue to high school, and beyond.
The teaching interns, who are post-graduate volunteers, come to Mexico from the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. They receive only an airfare stipend, assistance in finding housing, and daily travel expenses to the classes in the rural communities. Our skilled interns are invited to work in rural community centers, offering diverse educational programs. We build libraries and help children improve their reading skills. Children learn art, drama, and English, among other subjects, and are taught to use computers that we supply. We also provide opportunities to youth so they can meet the costs of going to high school—about US$300 per student per year—by awarding scholarships. For more information about the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, please visit our website at www.ruraledinst.org or call us at 415 124-1357.