Emporia State University and Kansas-Paraguay Partners (KPP) have developed a partnership in which ESU students can complete four out of the 16 weeks required for student teaching in Paraguay. Typically, this experience take place after the student has completed a 12-week period of student teaching in a Kansas school.
The Kansas-Paraguay Partner is a non-profit organization with presence in Paraguay and in Kansas. Several at Emporia State University are members/volunteers in this organization. The Paraguay-based group will receive nominations from Emporia State University for a 4-week student-teaching experience in Paraguay. They will place the student in a Paraguayan school that meets the requirements and conditions to successfully complete the student-teaching. They will also take care of matching the student with a Paraguayan host family, who in turn will provide cultural immersion to the student-teacher.
An important requirement that we have established is that student-teachers are placed in schools where instruction is in English. (Paraguay is an Spanish-speaking country.) Naturally, this requirement is to ensure language is not a limitation to complete this international work. Depending on the student’s teaching experience (elementary or secondary), the KPP will place student in an appropriate school. In the past, our students have taught only at one school in Paraguay. This is the American School of Asuncion. However, there are several other schools in Paraguay that teach in English (mostly elementary schools) and the idea is to keep open as many options as possible. In addition, we require that the school is willing to assign a cooperating teacher in the Paraguayan school. The cooperating teacher is responsible for giving access to the student to the classroom teaching and for mentoring the student-teacher throughout the period. At the end of the student-teaching activity, the cooperating teaching at the Paraguayan school will fill out the form required from the Teachers College.
For the Office of International Education, the student who embarks on a student-teaching experience abroad is considered “study abroad students.” The student will be completing a requirement toward graduation and therefore the academic activity in Paraguay is academic progress. This classification is important for the student because:
- We require that that the academic advisor approves the activity that the student will be completing in Paraguay
- The student will be considered for a study abroad travel grant.
- The student goes on an ESU-approved program and represents ESU during the time they are abroad.
- We use the study abroad application packet as documentation for applying for a student-teaching abroad.
In terms of cost, the KPP is willing to place the students in a student-teaching assignment for no cost. In addition, the KPP finds suitable housing for no fee. Therefore, the primary cost of the experience rests on air travel and medical/health insurance.