1 August 2012
From Itinerant to Intrepid
Linda Mason is taking her teaching passion of shaping young minds, and her love of travelling, to El Salvador.
It will be a big change from her four years as Ruahine Kindergarten Association’s (RKA) Itinerant Teacher, where she has
worked three days a week. While she has enjoyed moving around each of RKA’s 25 kindergartens as a teacher release and
emergency cover, she has missed getting to personally know the children and help them with their individual learning.
Finding the job through Search Associates, Linda’s two year contract with the Cuscatlán British Academy (ABC), will be
teaching 24 four year olds. ABC embraces the New Zealand Te Whāriki curriculum philosophy. Extending from the children's
interests where everybody learns together, was definitely a selling point for Linda. “If we get them at a young age, you
have them for life” explained ABC School Head Dr Hobson. Linda will do just that by teaching English phonetics skills
through music, drama and role playing. “The ideal vehicles for learning”, says Linda.
70 of the 104 schools in the area are private. ABC is owned and run by El Salvadorians, teaching British curriculum to
3-18 year olds. The children are primarily looked after by untrained nannies, coming to school without any English.
Fortunately her students will have had one year in prekinder before joining her class, as Linda admits her Spanish is
limited. She is blessed to have a bilingual daughter-in-law, but it is in fact Linda’s five year old granddaughter
giving her Spanish lessons prior to her departure.
Santa Tecla does have crime, including burglaries and kidnappings, and Linda’s accommodation will be in a gated
community. But she accepts the risks, “I was more fearful going to university as a mature student”. The eight new
teachers, (two from Australia, five from the United Kingdom, and Linda) will have a week of induction prior to starting,
this includes personal safety, food and health.
Linda knows all about challenges. She has raised her son as a single mother, embarked on her Early Years Degree at the
age of forty, before her first intrepid teaching at Bangkok’s Harrow International Schools. “Bangkok was the best three
years of my life”, says Linda, “and I know this new opportunity in El Salvador will bring another exciting chapter”.