Based in the Kaqchiquel Mayan town of Sololá, Guatemala amid ancient trade routes and bustling markets, English Language Fellow Matthew Mulka’s project has involved designing a new English language curriculum for the tourism program at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. His project has also invited him to conduct teacher training workshops throughout the country.

Towards the beginning of his project, Mulka spent two months traveling across Guatemala as the plenary speaker at six teacher training workshops. The talks were given in remote regions and local instructors welcomed the opportunity to hear from Mulka, speaking with him long after his talks concluded. Mulka’s focus on appreciation and inspiration led to a richer understanding of what great teaching means, helping participants bring their skills, talents, and passion immediately into their own classrooms.

Comments from teacher training participants:

“You showed me what passion is…it is important to follow our hearts and discover that life is out there. Thank you!” Luis, Local High School Teacher

“Your message on empowering our students was well received and you delivered the message clearly.” Nicholas, Fulbright ETA

“Now I want to travel and take the opportunities to live out my dreams. You helped show me what is possible.” Paola S., Solola Access Teacher

As part of his project, Mulka also presented at Guatemala’s annual National Teacher’s Conference in Guatemala City, which involved over 500 local and regional participants and presenters. During the workshop, Mulka and the participants discussed methods for giving and receiving feedback on writing in English language classrooms. Mulka provided anecdotes and personal stories of triumph and failure, enriching his audience with strategies to engage students in their writing practice. Nearly 200 participants ranging from primary school teachers to experienced doctorates attended his workshop. The active audience used their own wealth of experience to share opinions and stories to further enhance the depth of the seminar. The connections that Mulka has built with teachers across Guatemala will leave a lasting impact by helping educators apply their unique skills, talents and passions to increase student engagement.

“I feel a sense of connection with these teachers each time I lead a workshop. I know they are smart, interesting and caring people. They want to learn. They want to become better teachers. They want greater opportunities. They inspire me. I see how much these teachers appreciate my words. They thank me. They want to stay in touch. They want more information on the topic. This is the greatest feedback I can receive. Interest. Gratitude. Kindness. Kinship.”

–Matthew Mulka, English Language  Fellow, Guatemala


Related Stories

Fellow Eileen Finn Connects with Indian Culture through Art

Based in New Delhi, India, a bustling capital city where cows often wander shanty-lined streets, English Language Fellow Eileen Finn teaches at Ambedkar University. Discover Finn’s life as a Fellow as she attends traditional Indian art classes and develops English language capacity as an English for Academic Purposes instructor and teacher trainer.

Fellow Katrina Schmidt Shares Stories of Training English Teachers in Mexico

Based in Tijuana, Mexico, one of the most visited border cities across the globe, Fellow Katrina Schmidt trains English teachers. More than 50 million people cross the border between California and Mexico every year through Tijuana. Follow Schmidt’s fellowship journey as she increases English teaching capacity and mutual understanding in a growing international center and…

Follow Us on Twitter


Shout out to #ELFellow Robin Cathey who kicked off a new academic writing skills course at the American Corner in…

2 hours ago