Academic adventure: IUPUC senior fulfilling dream of traveling, teaching

Staff Reports

Greicy Patiño is a senior in the Division of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC). As part of her coursework, in the spring she will travel to Avila, Spain, to teach through the Global Gateway program.

Patiño is active as a student-teacher and involved in a mentoring program. She recently discussed with IUPUC her passion for teaching and encouragement of others.

» Describe the focus that you have toward the well-being of children.

As a student-teacher, I am surrounded by bright minds. I love the everyday student-teacher interaction. After school and on Sundays, I tutor students from the Migrant Program and assist the Children’s Faith Formation program in English and Spanish. Additionally, each Saturday morning for four years I taught Spanish classes. I want to encourage children to love learning and realize the beauty in being bilingual or trilingual.

I realize teachers have the power to help students strive toward the best of their abilities. As a career, I cannot imagine doing anything but teaching. All I can say is that I am ready for this opportunity and will work to be the best that I can be.

» You’re involved in a mentoring program. Please explain.

The Indiana Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program accomplishes great things for students by helping migratory children overcome language, culture and educational barriers. I was invited to be involved through tutoring, mentoring and supporting two high school students from Columbus East.

After I had been volunteering for over a year, a new director was hired to head the statewide Early Learning and Intervention. This new director was my former summer session’s professor, Nathan Williamson, at IUPUC. Because he knew me as a former student in his ENL course, he offered me a tutoring position within the program.

Within the state Region 5 includes Columbus, Shelbyville, Madison and Seymour. I felt fortunate to accompany six high school seniors from that region on a trip to Washington, D.C. Currently, I work with 12 children from three families, ages 2 through 14. The opportunity came at a perfect time; the joy that I gain when teaching is very fulfilling. My involvement as a tutor in the program has opened many doors for me. I have discovered new talents, met wonderful children, traveled (alone) to different places and branched out of my comfort zone.

» Discuss your trip to Spain and your participation in the Global Gateway program.

A simple search on teaching abroad and conversations with my adviser lead me to the Global Gateway program. During a discussion, I shared my dream of traveling and love for teaching. I dreamed of adventures, meeting students from around the world, learning new cultures and languages, and in all these things being an advocate of kindness. The IUPUC adviser assisted in making my desire to travel a reality.

The opportunity to travel alone to Avila, Spain, to teach is exciting. I consider it to be an experience of a lifetime. However, my family and I are so close to each other; I know the time apart will be difficult. All I can do is give thanks and take advantage of every second that I am setting foot on this earth.

As for my experience abroad, I want to learn from the educators and students of Spain. I want to explore their culture, teaching styles, customs, likes, dislikes, everything. Furthermore, I have already started taking photos of my daily routine in Indiana to share while teaching in Spain. And, I plan to take photos in Spain to share with my colleagues here. I anticipate the photos could be useful in a journalistic lesson plan on culture, geography, community and other topics as well.

I am also creating lesson plans to propose teaching in Spain. Allowing students the opportunity to experience teaching styles from distinct places is wonderful. It is important for us to be aware of the world around us and enhance our knowledge on global education. Just as Julia Child once said, “You will never know everything about anything, especially something you love.” That is why we always need to be learning, taking advantage of adventures in life, attending workshops, learning about the latest learning techniques, branching out of our comfort zones to become better teachers for our children.

We as future teachers have much to learn, and what we learn is for our students. I know that we have bright futures ahead of us and should always be thankful for the great opportunities in life. This experience will be memorable. Already, I eagerly anticipate additional opportunities to help others in life.

» Describe your experience as it personally relates to your enrollment at IUPUC.

I love how IUPUC is a small and friendly campus. It is a place where everyone knows each other, and that creates a welcoming environment. For me the choice of attending IUPUC’s Division of Education was perfect. Through campus involvement, I have learned valuable leadership skills. As a freshman, I felt terrified of college. I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it to class on time, would not fit in and not be successful. Today, I want to be an encouragement to students who doubt themselves and have many of the questions that I once held before beginning my academic journey.