In August 2010, I began teaching full time at the Christian American School of Guatemala in San Cristobal, Guatemala. Right from the beginning, I felt extremely welcomed by the directors of the school. They provided me with a car and helped me rent a home in Antigua, Guatemala. Furthermore, the directors worked hard to provide myself and other teachers with materials they would need to assist with teaching students at the school.
The Christian American School of Guatemala is a wonderful environment to be a teacher. The campus is complete with a computer lab, library, outdoor cafeteria, basketball/soccer court, and playground. The classrooms are equipped with a whiteboard, desks for the students and teacher, and access to wireless Internet. Teachers and student leaders work together to organize extracurricular activities. Our school currently has a student council, small choir, dance team, drama club, newspaper team, and swim team. Teachers also have organized specialty events like a science fair, spelling bee, and Christmas program.
Furthermore, our school lives up to its name in being a Christian school. Each school day begins with a teacher led devotional. Prayer is often included in each of the classrooms and the students attend a Bible class once a week. Specialty events always begin and end with prayer. Additionally, upper grade students exercise being good stewards by raising money for a local orphanage and HIV clinic.
Teaching at the Christian American School of Guatemala has been a wonderful experience. The administration at CASG works hard to support its teachers and to provide a quality education for all its students. I would recommend teaching at this school without reservation.
"I began working at the Christian American School of Guatemala in August, 2010. Before arriving in Guatemala with my fiancé there were many details to work out such as where to live, how to get to school, what to bring, etc. Our directors began helping us with these issues in May to make the transition as easy as possible for us. When we arrived to Guatemala we already had a house in Antigua, a car to use to get to school, paperwork resolved, and we were even able to move our cat with us! We couldn’t have prepared any of these things ourselves and we are very grateful to our directors for helping us.
I taught 1st grade at the Christian American School of Guatemala. My first graders were full of energy and smiles and they were a joy to work with everyday. I was able to use learning programs such as Hooked on Phonics, Accelerated Reader, and I had access to a Smartboard. Though I brought many of my own teaching materials from home, the school equipped my classroom with math manipulatives, learning posters to decorate the classroom, art materials, resource books and of course student books and teacher edition books. I especially liked the English curriculum called Moving Into English because it is especially designed for English Language Learners and it includes a lot of fun hands on ideas for classroom activities.
The school has a computer lab, library, playground, soccer/basketball court, outdoor cafeteria and a green space for the kids to run around on. The campus is outdoor based meaning you have to walk outside to get from place to place. I loved the fresh air and the close access to the outdoors while in my classroom. The best new addition to the school came in March when an outdoor cafeteria was built. Now a hot lunch and snack are served at the school everyday so students have the option to buy lunch at school or bring their own lunch from home.
The environment at the school is welcoming and Christian based. Every morning there is a teacher led devotion and students receive Bible classes once a week. In my class I sang Christian kids songs daily and began each day with a prayer. Discipline is done with a Christian mindset and students are expected to represent a good steward everyday. It was a positive and refreshing school environment to be a part of. The school has many special activities including a spelling bee, science fair, Splash Day, Thanksgiving family party, Christmas program and an end of the year performance. Teachers are welcome to plan field trips for their classes as often as once a month. Extracurricular activities include chapel club, cheerleading, soccer, swim team, dance classes, and acting classes.
I would recommend working at the Christian American School of Guatemala to anyone who feels a desire to serve the Lord through teaching children in a unique and positive environment. Being a teacher at the school was an exciting way to spend a year abroad and it provided me with lifelong memories."
- Anne Lorek,
"Hi, my name is Laura Cometa and I had the pleasure of working at Christian American School of Guatemala (CAS) for the 2011-2012 school year as the Director of English. CAS is a small Christian school with approximately 240 students ranging from toddlers to high schoolers. Class sizes are capped at 22, which great for teaching and learning. The goal of CAS is to help our students become fluent in English, which is why our students learn in English for most of the day and why it's important to us to have teachers directly from the United States.
The Director should ideally have the following qualifications: a teaching credential from the United States, 5 or more years of teaching experience, an administrative credential from the United States, and experience in a supervisory or administrative role. Having a Masters degree is preferred. The teachers and students should see the Director as an exemplary teacher who is also a strong manager. The Director should be a United States citizen who went through the American education system and speaks English as a first language. The Director should not speak English with a foreign accent.
As Director, one of the main responsibilities is working with the teachers. When I do teacher observations, I watch them for a full-period class, view the teachers' lesson plans, and take notes to give the teachers individual feedback afterwards. This is also when I complete teacher evaluations on things like uniforms, punctuality, attendance, professionalism, classroom management, and instruction. Every week, I facilitate a staff meeting to inform teachers about upcoming events and foster our teachers' professional growth. When the school year started, I planned 5 days of professional development to build community amongst the new staff and lay the foundation for a consistent philosophy and pedagogy amongst the teachers. When a teacher is absent, I am the substitute teacher, and if a teacher leaves the school mid-year, I must fill in until a new teacher is hired. I am responsible for posting ads to recruit new teachers, interviewing them, and hiring them. Since many of our teachers have never been to Guatemala before, the Director needs to help them get ready and settle in. The teachers have many questions that need to be answered about life in Guatemala, and many also need help finding apartments and arranging transportation. I have created a school handbook to help the teachers understand all of the school rules and policies, and what life is like in Guatemala. Overall, the teachers at CAS have been professional, positive, and easy to work with, but there have been a few challenges throughout the year with teachers who have struggled to meet the school's needs.
Of course, another huge responsibility is working with the students. I know all of the students by name and am familiar with their grades, behavior, and learning styles. On a day-to-day basis, I am the one managing the school and the students’ behavior, from the time students arrive until they leave. I handle discipline issues, which includes meeting with students one-on-one, holding detentions, and having parent conferences when needed. I also keep track of students' grades and progress, suggesting appropriate remediation and recommending students for Honors if they need more of a challenge. I make sure that special education students are having their needs met and help the teachers to adjust their practice accordingly. I administer our school's diagnostics; these include entrance exams and yearly diagnostics to determine students' proficiency levels in English (written, reading, and oral), Spanish, and Math. For the English oral exams, I pull each student out of class one at a time to administer a 15-minute oral test. Each morning, I take attendance school-wide and give students warnings for uniform violations and tardies. I keep track of students' attendance (including excused and unexcused absences) and give them grades based on Attendance, participation in Devotional, and participation in the weekly Swimming class. While there are occasional discipline problems, overall the CAS students are a joy to work with -- they are eager to learn, affectionate, cooperative, and respectful.
The Director must also be someone who knows how to use technology well and can manage it with ease. The Director creates email accounts for the teachers on the school's domain, runs the copy machine, and helps the teachers with online tools such as SpellingCity and Starfall. The Director is also the school librarian, so he/she needs to use the library software to register new books in the library, add new students, and check books in and out. Alongside the library software, the Director needs to manage the Accelerated Reader program to make sure that students are staying on-track with their reading goals and reading books that are at their correct level. Each month, I also create an English newsletter for parents using Microsoft Word or Publisher. I also manage the online grading program that we use, called Engrade, where teachers input their grades and parents and students can access them online. In addition, creating the master schedule requires experience, a strong understanding of the school's needs, and the ability to use Excel.
In addition to working with students, teachers, and technology, the Director needs to be ready to step in wherever needed. The Director is expected to oversee school field trips, handle report cards, and plan events to showcase students' work and involve the parents. As a Christian school, we hold devotionals every morning, which the Director oversees. The Director needs to create a monthly value, weekly Bible verses, and a rotating calendar so that each teacher knows when it is his/her turn to lead Devotional. The Director leads the Devotional every Monday, which includes making announcements and acknowledging students' successes by giving out weekly awards. This year, I have also helped our English teachers by pulling out the Honors students once a week so that the English teachers can review with the rest of the class. With the Honors students, we read novels together, write book reports, do creative projects, and make presentations. This also gives the Honors students a chance to receive more individual feedback on their writing as they draft their book reports. I also pull out struggling students and special education students once a week to check in with them, set goals, and provide tutoring when needed.
One of the most challenging parts of being the Director is planning ahead for the next school year. This requires a lot of communication with the school's owners, to understand the scheduling needs for the next cycle. I am responsible for putting together a list of textbooks to order, creating a master schedule, and programming students in their classes. Another challenge of the job is managing your time well. You are often multi-tasking at school and on most days, I bring work home to do in the evenings and on the weekends. There is also a significant amount of work and planning to be done over the summer before you officially start in September.
Although there are a lot of responsibilities and some challenges, there are countless rewards that come with being the CAS Director. It is a fulfilling job and it has been one of the best experiences so far in my career. I will never forget the great teachers I've worked with and the amazing students. If you have any questions about the job, I would be happy to answer them."
- Laura Cometa,
“Christian American School is a great place to work. The students try hard and are excited to learn and the owner is very supportive of any needs or requests that you may need or want throughout your tenure here. The campus is very nice and safe and is not a bad drive from Antigua at all (as long as traffic is ok). The staff is also very professional and willing to help you when or if you need it. Working here has been a great experience for me and I would recommend it to anyone else who would like the adventure of living and working abroad. It's fun and hard and worth every minute. Come here to work and live and you will not regret it!”
- Clifton Hood,
"I have been teaching at CAS for 5 years now. I love working with little ones and watching them learn new things for the first time. No job could equal the creativity and freedom offered as that of being a Preschool English Teacher. There could not be a more rewarding job than seeing every child reach their potential for success. This potential is so exciting and each new year presents new challenges and new potential successes.
CAS has given me this opportunity, in helping others in improving their knowledge and English Skills. As well as opened the doors to new friendships, permitting me to become part of a team of innovative, creative educators testing our abilities in dealing with challenges and working with others in a diverse environment. We never stop learning and at CAS there are many windows of opportunity available to you, if you just reach out for them."
- Jennifer Garcia
"My name is Mary Jo, and this is my second year of teaching at Christian American School. My position is second grade homeroom teacher (Reading, writing, math, social studies, science, and art). My other responsibilities have included teaching ESL remediation for my class, ESL for 4th-7th, and Bible 5th-9th. By working with the older students I have gotten to better know the older students who attend CAS.
CAS uses United States textbooks and the books have a teacher’s edition. The students have enjoyed the projects, English games, activities, writing, and artwork that I have added to the California standards. Students have many experiences and resources. They are eager to learn and are happy. It is joyful to see how much they progress in their English in just one year! Class sizes are kept small. This year, I have 17 bright and energetic second graders. CAS is open to teaching Christian values. Bible classes are once a week. Songs, Bible verses and teachings, prayer, and activities make Jesus come alive for them. Devotions are held each morning before class starts. Last year, we had our first chapel service. This year, the students went on their first school retreat.
Come and teach at a small, private, Christian school where you can make a difference in the lives of students and Guatemala. Come to serve the Lord here with an open and teachable heart to see all that beautiful Guatemala has to offer and be changed yourself."
- Mary Jo, Former Grade 2 Teacher
“I began working at Christian American School of Guatemala in September 2011. When I arrived, Don Erico was at the airport waiting for me and we stopped by the school where I met Ms. Vivian. She took me to Antigua where I would meet my amazing roommates. Working at CAS has been a blessing, I have the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and still get to do what I love, teach math! You will receive lots of hugs and smiles from the students. The kids are great and the parents are even better! They are concerned and involved, they email and want to do what they can to help the students succeed. The director, Laura Cometa, is a huge blessing to the school. She has done so much for the school this year. She is a great support for all of the teachers, she stands up for us and contributes to our classroom teaching in whatever way she can.
My office is next to Ms. Vivian's office, so whenever she comes in, she always smiles and asks how everything is going with the school and living in Guatemala. She wants to make sure her teachers are comfortable and happy working for CAS and living in Guatemala. She and Don Erico opened up their home to the teachers after a teacher ""work day"" with lunch and dessert to show their appreciation for all the teachers' service. They put a fan in my classroom, because it gets so hot and stuffy in the afternoon. The other teachers here are amazing teachers as well. We have the opportunity to visit and observe each others’ classrooms to get ideas and we work together as upper level teachers. The Spanish teachers are wonderful and loving, they practice with me daily with my Spanish. I have gained many new lifetime friends!
As a school this year, it has grown exponentially, spiritually, and physically with new classrooms and other new structures. There are plenty of resources here for students to be exposed and learn new strategies. Christian American School has daily devotionals led by teachers, parents, and sometimes the students. We have had a couple of speakers come to inspire the students and we have had field trips to museums and an amusement park at the end of the year.
During parent teacher evenings, we held a Christmas play, a spelling bee, a science fair, and an arts event so students can show off their talents. I also led a ""Pi Day"" on March 14, 2012 (3.14), where students had the opportunity to memorize pi and also a pi obstacle course, the student enjoyed it! In my classes I have the flexibility to do different activities with my students. My ninth grade Algebra students created math games for the first grade students to play with them weekly. It's great to be able to have math buddies, all the students look forward to Fridays and math class, it's a win-win!!
I feel blessed being here to teach and also traveled to Costa Rica, Belize, and other places within Guatemala. In Antigua, it's comfortable to walk around and go out and meet new people. I've taken Spanish classes for as low as $3 an hour! I've also taken salsa and samba classes, which I love! I'm excited to see what God has planned for next year, for the students, teachers, and more experiences to make! Be faithful, trust God, smile, and make the most of your time here, you will have a great time like I have. Welcome to Christian American School of Guatemala!"
- L.D. Odd, Former Math Teacher
"I am very excited to be teaching 3rd grade for a second year at CAS. It has been such a wonderful experience getting to spend so much time with these students and to explore this beautiful country. I have appreciated all the encouragement and support that I receive from both coworkers and parents in addition to all the love and joy that my students bring to class each day. I'm looking forward to a great year!"
- Becky Eddleman, 3rd Grade Teacher
"I look forward to coming to work each day! We have a great administration that truly supports the staff and students. I appreciate that my coworkers have become my friends."
- Sarah Bennett, High School Computer Teacher
"It is a blessing to work in a school that cares for children's academic and spiritual growth."