A day in the life of...

10th June 2016 at 00:00
Forming a formidable tag-team with Coco the teddy bear, this London-based Spaniard connects with pupils across the globe to teach English using webcam tech

It is 12.30pm here in Redbridge, north-east London, and I am about to start teaching my first English lesson of the day to a group of primary pupils at Paysandú 45 in Uruguay.

I am one of 10 teachers at Video Conferencing for Global Learning (VCfGL), assisting in English teaching using high-quality video-conferencing technology. We currently work with hundreds of schools across Uruguay, Brazil and Africa.

I greet my level 1 class with “good morning” and a big smile, as I hold up Coco the class teddy bear. The children, aged 8 to 9, reply in chorus, “Good morning, Naza and Coco.” They are sitting behind their desks, proudly wearing white shirts and navy-blue bow ties.

I grab my remote control and point at the HD camera on top of my screen. I press the zoom button to control the camera in the classroom, so I can see the teacher, Leticia, who speaks to me in Spanish. We are on lesson 12 of a 30-week English course, put together by Plan Ceibal, a Uruguayan initiative to implement a one-to-one model for ICT in primary public education. I teach the first lesson out of three and support Leticia in the two lessons of English that she teaches on her own.

To get the lesson started, I share my laptop screen with the children and play a video that they are familiar with: we call it “the hello song”. After we sing together, I use the visualiser connected to the video-conferencing hardware to share images and words from a storybook about animals. The children see my hand as I point to the words and the illustrations in the book, as if I was right there in Paysandú with them. Thirty minutes later, I say goodbye and disconnect the call. I have 10 minutes to prepare for my next class, Tacuarembó 145, also in Uruguay.

I am the coordinator for all the remote teachers at VCfGL, so during my lunch break (at 4pm) I email class teachers support for the next lessons and grab a healthy snack. I catch a glimpse of Annette, one of my colleagues, teaching young girls conversation classes in Tanzania, and another colleague, Debbie, teaching English to children in São Paulo, Brazil. We are a creative bunch, and Annette and Debbie always have great teaching ideas to share.

By 9pm, I have taught my last English class. It is winter holidays next week, so the children in Uruguay have a week off, which means I will also get a break.

I love my job because even though I am 5,000 miles away, I still recognise all the children. I know their behaviours, personalities and abilities, and form a similar relationship with them as if I were there in Uruguay.

I love that I now get to work in London – for me, the best city in the world – and can still travel home to see my family in beautiful Cádiz, Spain, any time I want.

For more information on VCfGL and their work, visit www.vcfgl.co.uk

Your day

Do you want to tell the world’s teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com. We will give your school £100 if your story is published.

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