Counterpart Spotlight: Edwin Varela Guerrero

andrewBy Andrew Mulvaney

I am very thankful to have Edwin José Varela Guerrero as one of my counterparts, and, even more so, as a friend. We started working together six months ago, when he came in as a new English teacher at my site, Institución Educativa Distrital de La Paz. Teaching 4th and 5th grade, it has been a privilege to work alongside him, and his students have responded by making great English strides.  

In these past few months, we have helped each other learn the other’s culture, as well as improve our second languages on a daily basis. His honesty goes a long way. On more than one occasion, I have started a sentence saying, “Todo el mundo…” perhaps before elaborating that everyone is talking about how hot it is here on the Coast or something along those lines. Quick on the return is Edwin saying, “Todo el mundo,” correcting my pronunciation almost blatantly. This doesn’t bother me in the least. What I really value is that he believes in me and gives honest, sincere feedback.

Ajáentonces. Edwin works incredibly hard at his craft and I truly admire his approach with his students. Believing in every one of them, he gives them tons of positive feedback when deserved, and gives tough love when necessary. Without any further ado, I would like to present my interview with Edwin.

Why did you decide to become an English teacher?

I first decided to become a teacher because I like the language and enjoy teaching it.

Who do you admire and why?

My best friend, Raul. He is a person who doesn’t have a mother or father, and he has overcome many obstacles to achieve his dreams.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Listen to music and go to the gym.

What did you do during school vacation?

I hung out with my girlfriend, watched television, and slept a lot.

Which country would you must like to visit?

I would like to visit Canada and the U.S.A. – especially Canada because I want to study there to improve my English and French.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a Peace Corps Volunteer?

The Volunteer must be a friendly person. And when he’s teaching English, he needs to be dynamic.

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