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During the summers of 1993 and 1994 I was an exchange teacher in the R.I.T.E. program.
Rotary InterDistrict Teacher Exchange is a cultural exchange of volunteer teachers between participating countries. The teachers teach their language to students in the host country, normally during the summer and in return, the teachers learn about the people, the language and the culture of the host country. The overall purpose of this program is to promote international goodwill and understanding.
In June, 1993 I went to San Migual, Cozumel, Mexico with two other teachers to work with students that wanted to learn English. I found out about the program through a bulletin that was distribute through the Arlington Independent School District in Texas. At that time the program was sponsored by Rotary District 5790 and was known as the Texas/Mexico Teaching/Learning Experience.
The Club Rotario De Cozumel - Distrito 4200 - distributed a circular, advertising the classes and soliciting students. Several hundred students showed up and we spent the better part of one day interviewing them in an attempt to determine their level of English proficiency.
There were three teachers on this exchange. Altogether we taught seven different classes. Students ranged from teens to those in their late 60's. We taught some specialized classes. One of my classes involved members of the Cozumel Bilingual Tourist Police. I had a great time with these fellows, perhaps because of my five years as a police officer (32K)in Ottawa, Kansas during my college days.
We worked with members of the Mexican Coast Guard, the Air Force, Port Captains, and Customs Officers. Other students were from the tourist industry. After the first day of classes, we were interacting with our students all over the island in non class hours encounters. In other words, you become a full time teacher on one of these exchanges.
Rotary families took us on excursions around the island and provided us with meals. At times these meals were in the home but often we were used as a "good excuse" to eat out - sometimes at the most exclusive establishments and always in good company. You will probably gain about 10# on one of these teaching exchanges!!!!
At the end of the project we had a wonderful end of course dinner party and certificate ceremony. ALVA RO MARTIN NUNEZ, CAPITANIA DE PUERTO had some kind words to say about the program and there was a write up in the local paper (FINALIZO EL SEMINARIO IMPARTIDO POR EL CLUB ROTARIO DE COZUMEL) about the event.
We had a great time but just like any job, we were happy at the successful conclusion. The gentleman in the center is Luis F. Xacur Catrib - a great friend - and Rotarian.
I will be adding to the narratives and filling out with pictures as I get them scanned.
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