Joycelyn Minor completes student teaching in Ecuador

Students at Alcorn State University have a reputation for stepping outside of the box to become well-rounded professionals. Joycelyn Minor, a senior who will earn a bachelor’s degree in music education Friday, Dec. 9 at the University’s first Fall Commencement Convocation, recently journeyed to Ecuador to complete her duties as a student teacher.

Joycelyn taught music to 7-10 grade students in the country’s Colegio Americana de Guayaquil International Baccalaureate school. She also used her time in Ecuador to learn more about the country by taking a course in Ecuadorian culture and society at the Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano de Guayaquil, which is a cultural and language institute that fosters positive relationships between the United States and Ecuador.

The experience for Joycelyn was one that she appreciates because it allowed her to grow culturally and professionally. She acknowledged her co-workers for being very welcoming and helpful.

“My experience in Ecuador was wonderful and rewarding,” said Joycelyn. “The administrators and cooperating teachers with whom I worked were some of the nicest, most helpful individuals I have ever met. They made me feel welcomed in their school and allowed me many opportunities to develop my skills and techniques as a professional.”

Multiculturalism and the desire to become fluent in another language are a couple of reasons why Joycelyn ventured to Ecuador to wrap up her student teaching.

“I chose to complete my student teaching in Ecuador because the country is rich in cultural diversity and as an education student at Alcorn, we are taught about the importance of multiculturalism. Therefore, I wanted to learn first-hand about a new culture and how I could implement multiculturalism into my instruction. Secondly, I chose Ecuador because of the Spanish language. One of my goals in life is to become bilingual, and I knew that this opportunity would afford me with much practice and improvement.”

Joycelyn’s stay in Ecuador made her realize that she has an ability to adapt to her surroundings. She said that she was able to use her resources to be successful in the classroom.

“I learned that I am more adaptable and resourceful than I thought. I had the opportunity to work with English language learners, some of which spoke neither Spanish nor English. So to reach all of my students, I had to differentiate my instruction, whether that meant to utilize technology to translate, to create test in Spanish for those who were fluent in Spanish but struggled with English, or simply to make learning more interactive and hands-on. Seeing the joy on my students’ faces when they could understand and participate with the rest of their classmates did all the good in the world for me as a teacher.”

The trip also was eye opening for Joycelyn because it showed her that teaching has no barriers. She encourages education majors at Alcorn to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams, even if that means leaving the United States.

“I also learned that the possibilities for educators are endless. The teaching profession is not limited to one state or even one country. I want Alcorn students who are interested in pursuing a career in education to know that you can go anywhere your passion takes you.”

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