University of Minnesota Duluth
Education Endazhi-gikinoo'amaading 150
412 Library Dive
Duluth, MN 55812-3029
Regular hours - 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Belize Student Teaching Program
Student teach in Belize: Fall 2006 or Spring 2007
For more information,
or to express your interest, contact:
(To see more photos go to Photo Page)
The purpose of this web site is to provide students with
an overview of UMD's Belize Student Teaching Program. You can read through the
whole page by scrolling down or you can click on one of the links below to take
you directly to the section that is of interest to you.
Description of the Belize Student Teaching
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- Purpose/goals: To provide an international experience
for prospective teachers through which they will come to understand
the impact of culture and colonization on education of diverse
- Length of student teaching
experience: You will student
teach for the same length of time as other UMD student teachers
(a total of 16 weeks). You have the option to have half of your student teaching experience in Duluth, while the other half of
your experience will be in Belize.
However, because the Belize Student Teaching Program requires
a week-long orientation period, you will need to be in Belize
for a a total of 9 weeks (one week of orientation, and then 8
weeks of student teaching). This orientation consists of and
overview of the program, the school, and to the culture and customs
of the people of Belize.
- Host school: You will student teach in the Toledo
Community College (TCC) which is the public high school in Punta
Gorda, a small town located on the southern coast of Belize in
the Toledo District, or several primary schools in the same community.
- Your role as a student teacher: Your role as a student teacher: Whereas
your cooperating teacher will
have had more experience that you in the classroom, you will
most likely have had more coursework to prepare you for teaching,
and you may have more ideas about methods to use. The administration
of TCC appreciates your preparation and hopes that sharing of
that preparation will occur. As you gain experience in the classroom,
you will lend your expertise with
- Cooperating teacher: You will work with an experienced teacher in your grade and/or subject area. This teacher will work closely
with you throughout your program, at first by having you observe
and assist in his/her class, and giving you some guidance in
preparing the units and lessons that you will be teaching. Once
you start teaching your cooperating teacher's role is to provide
you with feedback on your teaching and guide you in reflecting
on ways in which you can improve.
- Supervision: From Belize Teacher's College who lives
in Punta Gorda. Your supervisor will participate in your initial
orientation during your first week in Punta Gorda. Thereafter
she will observe you teaching every other week as well as conduct
bi-weekly seminars with all of the UMD student teachers in the
Belize Student Teaching program.
- UMD support: A UMD professor will accompany you to
Belize at the start of your program to provide support and assistance
during your first week. S/he will also remain in e-mail contact
with you throughout student teaching,
Who is eligible for the Belize Student Teaching
UMD Education students
who meet all of the following criteria:
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- Be eligible for student teaching
at UMD (ie: meet all the standard criteria for student teaching
at UMD) in one of the following licensure areas: Elementary education, Secondary
English, Spanish, Social Studies, Math, Science, Physical Education.
- Receive high recommendation from
advisor, special methods and general methods instructors
- Submit completed Belize Student Teaching application
form (date to be announced).
- Have application approved by Toledo
Community College in Punta Gorda (the school where you will be
- Be independent, self-motivated,
willing to take risks
- Be open to new experiences and new
How to apply
- Schedule an meeting with Jim Sersha (call 726-7483 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Pick up the Belize Student Teaching application form
from Jim at the time of your meeting.
- Turn in the completed application form and provide
all accompanying materials to Jim by the date specified on the application. (It is normaly the fourth Friday of the semester, for the following semester).
Registration for Belize Student Teaching
You should register for the Belize Student Teaching
Program in the same way as other UMD student teachers. Once your application
for student teaching is approved and once you have met all prerequisites for
student teaching, you will be given an override. Note: If you are taking required
education courses in the Spring, you will not receive your override until the
end of the Spring semester, when you have successfully completed these courses.
Preparation for student teaching in Belize
- Curriculum planning: UMD will have copies of some but not all of the textbooks
that you will use during your student teaching experience. You
will be expected to read these carefully the semester prior to
beginning your student teaching. If appropriate and possible
you may be in touch through e-mail with your cooperating teacher
during this time so that the two of you can begin planning what
you will be teaching.
- Learn about the country, politics,
and cultures of the different
groups within Belize: The accompanying web page called Useful
Belize Links provides a variety of web sites on Belize. You should
spend some time reviewing these to learn about the country, its
people, and the different cultures. You may also want to do library
research to find other information on Belize. This background
preparation will be very important in helping you to understand
your students, so you can develop teaching methods and content
geared towards them.
During the nine weeks of your Belize
student teaching experience, you will stay with a host family in
or near the town of Punta Gorda. This accommodation will be arranged
for you by UMD's Belize Student Teaching Program Coordinator in
Punta Gorda. All host families are carefully screened by the Belize
program coordinator. You may not arrange your own accommodation.
We consider your immersion experience in living with a Belizean
family to be an integral part of the program. In return for the
board and lodge fee paid to your host family, they will provide
you with your own furnished room, bedding and breakfast. It may
be possible for you to arrange to have evening meals with the
family for an extra fee, or for you to make use of their kitchen
facilities. It is up to you, however, to make these arrangements
with your host family, upon your arrival.
- Belize Student Teaching Program administration
fee (covers extra costs incurred by the program beyond local student teaching
- Student teaching: Register for the same number of student teaching credits
as you would if you were student teaching in Duluth.
- Passport: Approximately $80 (On Tropic
Air or Maya Air)
- Air fare to Belize: varies. Expected range $500
- $1000 (this will vary depending on which airline you use and how early you
make your reservation).
- Air fare round trip from Belize City to Punta
Gorda: Approximately $180
- Visa renewal: $10.
- Accommodation (board and lodging): The exact
cost of this is determined annually, but you can expect it to be no more than
you would be paying in the U.S. (it should be less).
- Spending money: You will probably need less spending
money than you would in the U.S., unless you plan to travel on weekends.
What to bring and what NOT to bring
What you should bring:
- Teaching materials. Because of the shortage of current resources
in the TCC school library, you may want to supplement the course
materials with resources of your own. However, you are not expected
to do this. It is important to note that although the school
does have a photocopier, you probably will not be able to photocopy
handouts to give to students.
- Teaching clothes: You will be expected to adhere to the
same standards of professional dress as all TCC teachers. For
men this means long trousers, closed shoes (not sneakers), and
a shirt with a collar (because of the climate you will probably
want this to be short sleeved!). Women should wear either a skirt
and blouse, a dress, a more "dressy" pants suit, or
dressy pants and blouse. Women may wear sandals if they are not
too casual. What you should NOT wear: jeans, sneakers, t-shirts,
shorts, or thin strap (or strapless!) shirts. Although you will
see some women wearing sleeveless blouses, it is better to wear
blouses/shirts with sleeves.
- Casual clothes: Shorts, t-shirts, sandals, cool dresses/skirts, bathing
suit, hat, rain-jacket, light sweater/jacket (you will very rarely need this!).
- Traveler's checks ($US dollars). The cost of living is very
low in Belize, so you will not need a lot of money. As indicated
under the section on cost, you will probably need less spending
money than you would in the U.S., unless you plan to travel on
- Insect repellent, anti-malaria
pills and, if you wish,
a mosquito net that you can suspend above your bed.
- Camera, with film or digital storage card.
- If you are interested in bird
watching, bring binoculars.
- Toiletries: You can purchase most of these easily
in stores in PG, but should take at least initial supplies with
you. It is very important for you to use sun-block (recommended:
at least factor 15). Two exceptions: Contact lens wearers should
take their own lens solution. Women should take their own supplies of tampons.
What you do not need to bring:
- Your own computer. The climate
is very hard on computers, and it is unlikely that you
will be living in a house with air conditioning. In addition, it is important for you to experience teaching
under conditions experienced by other teachers at the school,
and few of them have their own computers.
- Warm clothes. It does not get
cold in Belize. At the most you will need a light sweater or
- Very formal clothes.
You will need to follow certain health precautions
prior to departure and once in Belize. It is a good idea to check out the U.S.
State Department Travel Warnings & Consular Information Sheet on Belize (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1055.html)
- Immunizations: You should see
you doctor to obtain the necessary immunizations (you doctor
will provide information to you on what you will need).
- Anti-malaria pills (prophylaxis).
Obtain a prescription from your doctor. Do not leave this until
the last moment as you usually need to begin taking these pills
prior to your departure.
Once in Belize:
- Use protective measures to prevent
or reduce the likelihood of mosquito bites. Recommended measures:
After sunset wear long sleeved shirt; use mosquito net over bed,
use insect repellent on bedding, netting, clothing, and skin.
- Don't drink tap water (even in
ice). Usually you can purchase bottled water, but otherwise you
can boil the water, use a water filter pump, or add iodide to
- Don't eat raw vegetable, fruits
that do not have a thick, disposable outside covering, raw meats,
fish, or shellfish, and dairy products from small, independent
vendors without pasteurizing facilities.
- AIDS is a global concern. It is
your responsibility to protect yourself from acquiring this disease
(and any other sexually transmitted diseases).
Getting there and getting around once there
You should make your own reservations
to Belize. Our recommendation, however, is that you plan to travel
with at lest one other person in the program. Once you have been
notified of your acceptance into the Belize Student Teaching program
there will be a meeting of all participants to explain the program
in more detail to you. At this time the different travel options
will be discussed. Arrange your travel so that you can make it to Punta Gorda before nightfall (no lights at the airport). This will probably necessitate an early morning departure from Minneapolis. Sunset is at 6:00, light lingers at most until 6:30. You will have time to visit Belize City when you are more aware of the country.
Information about Toledo Community College(TCC)
See also the TCC
Home Page. According to this page, Toledo Community
College is the largest and only high school in the Toledo District.
Located in the western part of Punta Gorda Town, the school has around 700 students
currently attending with a staff of around 43 including the pincipal. There are 19 classrooms that consist of five major
departments: Business, The Arts, Vocational, Science, General
Studies. It is a 9-12 grade school (called forms 1 - 4 under
the Belize education system). The courses tau,ght at TCC are:
- General Studies: Math, English, Science, Technical Drawings,
Spanish, Physical Education.
- Business Dept.: Principals of Accounts, Principals of Business,
Office Practice, Typing, Computer.
- Science Dept.: Biology, Chemistry, Physics.
Links to Belize Web Sites
- Geography (http://www.travelbelize.org/geo.html).
Overview of geography and climate.
of Belize (http://www.belizenet.com/history.html).
Developed by Naturalight Productions (2000), The following extract
from the page introduction describes the site:
History of Belize,
Nation in the Making
traces the history of Belize. It focuses on how Belize became
what it is today. This website takes us on a journey through
time and gives us the opportunity to study the complex society
we see today in this small Central American nation.
of Belize (http://www.travelbelize.org/hist.html).
Provides a very brief (one page) overview of Belize's history.
- Maya Guest House Program (http://www.belize.com/toledo.html#Mayan%20Guesthouse%20Program).
This link, from the Belize.com site, gives a brief overview of
the Maya guest house program. During the orientation week of
your student teaching experience in Punta Gorda, you will participate
in this program.
cultures of Belize (http://www.belizehank.com/cultures.htm)
- Culture (http://www.travelbelize.org/cult.html).
Brief description of some of the cultural groups in Belize (Creole,
Garifuna, Maya, and Mennonite).
Page of the Maya People of the Toledo District of Belize (http://www.belize.com/toledo/maya.html)
Maya Culture Council (http://www.toledomaya.org/)
- Blue Creek, Toledo District (http://www.voicenet.co.jp/~jeanphi/maya/bluecreek.htm)
- Belize ~ The Heart of Cultural Diversity
- Garifuna Route (http://www.belizex.com/garifuna_route.htm)
- The Garifuna Journey (http://www.cs.org/sprojects/SPGarifuna.htm). "The Garifuna
Journey is one vehicle by which we the Garifuna Nation will tell
our story that has been buried and hidden for 200 years."
- Garifuna Days (http://www.belizeans.com/garifuna.htm)
Community College (http://rjh.vitts.com/tcc/home.html)
- Belize Ministry of Education and Sports-
Belize Government web site
(http://www.belize.gov.bz/). Provides links to information on
Office of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Press Office, Library,
About Belize, Contact Us, as well as sections on the latest headlines
from the press office, what's new, and information.
structure and issues (http://www.travelbelize.org/gov.html).
Brief overview of structure, foreign policy, two-party system, & Belize in the region.
- Belize.net (http://www.belize.net/). Similar to many
on-line news services, this page provides links to a variety
of news stories, weather, feature sites, as well as sections
on: Business and Finance , Districts
Education, Government, News and Media, Organizations, Reference,
Science, Society and Culture.
Belize Times: Voice of the New Government
(http://www.belizetimes.com/). Online version of the Belize Times.
5 Belize (http://www.channel5belize.com/).
Description from the site: "News Five is recognized as one
of the region's leading news operations. The full text along
with selected pictures from each half hour newscast is updated
every night on this site."
Reporter Newspaper, Belize
(http://www.reporterbelize.com/). Provides headlines, feature
The online version of Amandala (which reports itself to be the
newspaper with the greatest circulation in Belize). Provides
feature stories from the news.
Pedro Sun (http://www.sanpedrosun.net/index.html).
The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Highlights news
of the week.
Online Tourist and Investment Guide
(http://www.Belize.com). Rated #1 Belize web site by Belize First
magazine. Provides links to a variety of sites useful to visitors
to Belize. These include links to Belize maps,
directory of hotels
and resorts, photo
gallery, and information of each of the districts in Belize,
including the Toledo
District (where Punta Gorda, the town where you will be student
teaching, is located). Good idea to check out their Belize
Fact Sheet for visitors for useful overview information on
the country, culture, do's and don'ts.
- TravelBelize.org (http://www.travelbelize.org/). This is
the official web site of the Belize Tourism Board. It includes
the following links: Location - History - Culture - Geography
- Government - Things to do - Places to see - Places to stay
- Getting Here - Getting Around - Travel Tips - Online Tour.
This page states that it is: "The in-depth traveler's guide
to Belize: Lodging, restaurants, sights, adventure and travel
tips; plus immigration, investment and retirement information." Provides a useful "Know
Before You Go" page on tips for new visitors to Belize
(worth reading before you pack!).
- The Lonely Planet: Destination Belize (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/cam/belize.htm).
Provides a comprehensive set of links, namely: Facts at a Glance,
Environment, History, Economy,Culture, Events, Facts for the
Traveler ,Money & Costs, When to Go, Attractions, Off the
Beaten Track, Activities, Getting There & Away, Getting Around,
Recommended Reading, Lonely Planet Guides, Travelers' Reports
on Belize, On-line Info.
Better Belize It! (http://www.belizeit.com/).
Links to lodging, things to do, news and weather, business place,
travel and tours, local scene, chat board, email addresses,
destinations, what's new, arts and culture.
- Toledo Ecotourism Association of Belize
Home Page (http://www.public.usit.net/plenty1/TEA.html).