Teaching English in Costa Rica made the person that I am today. Knowing that I am helping others to succeed in their lives is a privilege.

Does teaching English in nature and outdoors call your attention? And how much do you know about the slowest animal in the world?

The spot is just like in a dream, a beautiful house in front of a beach called “Playa Negra” or “Black Beach” because the sand is actually black. My student, a 24-year-old needing to learn English for his job at a sloth reserve.
His name is Diego and he has a nice family: a wife and 2 kids, all of them with an indigenous background.

The guy speaks “bri-bri”, which is a language spoken by an indigenous civilization in Costa Rica. The first day we started, he was very shy and he didn´t know much of the basics, so I knew that it was going to be a challenge for both of us, but that made it more interesting.

As the days went by, he started to gain confidence, we became friends so we would talk about everything, and even though it is a 2-hour class at 1 pm with a temperature of around 38 degrees, we always have a lot of fun. Thanks to him, I am becoming a better teacher every day.

The Sloth Conservation Foundation

The Sloth Conservation Foundation (SloCo) was founded in 2016 by sloth researcher Dr. Rebecca Cliffe and is dedicated to saving sloths in the wild. One of the facilities is located in Limon, Costa Rica where I actually live, so when I found out that they were looking for an English Teacher, I didn´t hesitate to apply.

Their purpose is to simply help nature; this is a nonprofit organization that works with communities in order to make sure that animals and humans can coexist.

Feel free to visit their website: https://slothconservation.com/

Diego is involved in the plantation program so he would go to different properties and places around the Puerto Viejo community to plant or assist with setting up bridges for sloths and other animals.

The reason why he needs English is that there are a lot of tourists and foreigners in this area of the country, most of them speak English so in order for him to be able to properly communicate is by learning the language.

Tips for teaching in nature/outdoors

Wear repellent, otherwise flying insects will bother you and you might get distracted.

You need to prepare for them to ask you complex vocabulary questions that you might not know in your own language. My student knows a lot about different species of animals such as birds, frogs, snakes, and even sloths so in different occasions he asks me how to translate a specific name that I´m not aware of, and that helps me to improve as I have to research for the words and I end up gaining much vocabulary knowledge.

Weather conditions are very important as you might need to teach outdoors like in my case. Be prepared for a strong hit from the sun (especially if you work at the beach). Heavy weather conditions can affect both the teacher and student as you might feel uncomfortable during the class.

Always have water available and maybe some tissues so you can clean up your sweat.

Last but not least, ENJOY THE CLASS.

For me, it is a privilege to teach someone with this amount of knowledge. I learn new things every time I have a class, it’s like I were the student sometimes, especially if you are teaching at a dream spot where you can not only listen to the waves but also see all kinds of extraordinary animals.

The Satisfaction of Teaching

Teaching English in Costa Rica made the person that I am today, and knowing that I am helping others to succeed in their lives is a privilege.

After a few months of at least 4 hours of class per week, I´ve noticed how my student Diego has improved not only with his English knowledge but his confidence as well.

In this place there are people mostly from England, the US, and of course Costa Rica, so he needs to be able to communicate with them every day, which is perfect practice.

The results speak for themselves and that is the best way you can be sure that you are a great teacher. Diego´s goal as an English student is to get to a point where he can easily communicate with English speakers so that he can get promoted in his job.

In Costa Rica, your English plays a very important role in your chances to find a good job or being promoted.

Teaching Tips for Students

I always tell my students that if they want to reach an advanced level of English, they should practice every day and make English part of their personal lifestyle.

For instance, if you are someone that truly enjoys playing the guitar, then you will just do it all the time (or at least as much as you can) because you enjoy it, which is the same with English.

I think most of us teachers enjoy the language, so we know how much dedication you will put into it if you are really passionate about it. Students sometimes get frustrated because they fail or because they can´t remember something they learned before, so on those occasions, it is important to encourage the student to never give up and make sure they understand that mistakes are needed in order for us to learn.

Would you like a sloth educator to talk to your class live from the jungles of Costa Rica?

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