Molly Breen ’14 soon will be moving to Madrid to work as a Language and Culture Teaching Assistant through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) teach abroad program. As a participant in a Spanish immersion program from elementary school until her graduation from high school, Breen holds deep personal connections to the work she will be doing.
“Because of my own involvement in a Spanish immersion program, I got to see firsthand the value of bilingualism,” says Breen, an exercise science major through the individual studies program with minors in education and Spanish and hispanic studies. “It has always been a dream of mine to take part in something similar from the teacher’s side. I’m really excited to be able to work with students who are young second language learners just as I once was.”
Breen will be teaching elementary school-aged children at Colegio de Educación Infantil y Primaria Federico García Lorca, located in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid. As a language and culture teaching assistant, Breen will be tasked with assisting the head teacher in the classroom, and creating some of her own lesson plans for subjects like science, social studies, physical education, and religion.
“I think this job will give me a new perspective on education, lifestyle and culture,” Breen says. “I’m most excited about being able to live in and learn about a new culture.”
Breen applied for the position through CIEE’s teach abroad program. CIEE is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization, and the world leader in international education and exchange. Their aim is to foster the development of understanding and mutual respect between communities and nations by promoting the exchange of ideas and experiences.
“When I found out I got into the program I was so excited and grateful to have received this opportunity because this is something I really want to do,” Breen says.
At HWS, Breen was a member of the William Smith Basketball team and Phi Beta Kappa. She attributes much of her preparation for her new position to her experiences at HWS.
From her education courses, Breen says she learned the skills essential to being a “creative and inclusive” teacher in the classroom. She also garnered a broader set of skills that will help her both in the professional world and throughout her time spent immersed in a different culture.
“I think that one of the main ways my experiences at HWS helped me prepare for this job was by giving me the confidence to even apply for this type of job,” says Breen. “At HWS I have learned the importance of hearing different perspectives and the value of being able to collaborate with people who come from different backgrounds, both of which will be useful while living and working in Spain.”