Reflecting on my Summer Internship at NCTL

Today’s blog post is written by our summer intern, Talia Mercado. She is going into her senior year at Hamilton College where she is studying Government and Hispanic Studies.

Growing up with a mother as a teacher taught me the importance of education at an early age. I grew up going into school with my mother and sitting in on the elementary school classes she taught. I was always amazed at how much my mother taught, as well as how much her students knew. I was excited when it was finally my turn to go to school, and I attended my mom’s duel immersion school from kindergarten to eighth grade in Cambridge, MA.

Growing up with a mother as a teacher also taught me at a young age the everyday difficulties teachers and administrators face every day. For as long as I can remember, one of the biggest challenges for my mother, as well as most of the other teachers in her school, has been the limited amount of time during the school day. Teachers need additional time to plan in order to meet the needs of all students.

This summer, working as an intern at NCTL I have been able to view school from a different angle. I have spent most of this summer researching legislation that could potentially lead to expanded learning time in all states throughout the country. When conducting this research it is evident that ELT has definitely impacted multiple state legislatures. This is especially true for Massachusetts. With the recent increase to the MA ELT budget more students in Massachusetts will be able to experience an expanded education.

Looking back, I am happy that I went to a bilingual school as a child. I do believe that had I not, my Spanish would not be as good as it is today. I also believe that I would not have had the wonderful social and cultural experiences that have molded me into the person I am today. However, I do believe that time was limited in my elementary school, and I felt it. There simply was not enough time to perfect my English writing and reading as well as learn Spanish even though we spent an equal amount of time in the classroom for both languages.

Bilingual schools like the one I attended as a child as well as other innovative schools are so important for our country, but in order for students at these schools to absorb the most possible, more time is necessary. Interning at NCTL has taught me that not only do non traditional schools need more time, but that all schools can benefit from the addition, especially schools serving to low income students. It is true that most schools around the United States including those in affluent areas suffer from low hours of instructional time, but students whose families can afford it will be able to make up for the difference in hours with extra activities and tutoring. Students from low-income families simply do not have the ability to access extra academic activities that money can buy.