Juan Pablo Monge | 5th Grade ESOL Teacher

Juan Pablo Monge is a teacher of English as a Foreign Language in his home city of Rafaela, Argentina. Even though he’s only been teaching for just three short years, he’s quickly come to see tremendous value in student-centered instruction and the sort of playful pedagogy that EMC² Learning is proud to call its trademark. His story shows how one little spark of inspiration and a dedicated teacher’s willingness to invest in himself and his classroom can lead to incredible dividends for all parties involved.

Trying to Stand Out From The Pack While Running Out of Ideas

Before making use of resources available from the EMC² Learning Platform, my problem was that I couldn’t find a way to make my classes different, engaging and memorable for my students. I did have many interesting ideas, but being a teacher in Argentina means planning 10-15 different classes each week, so my objective was a nearly impossible one. I constantly had to rely on the more traditional resources that I simply didn’t want to use. 

I felt hopeless because I couldn’t see how to change things. The sheer amount of work was not letting me do it. And on the days where I was forced to depend on those more traditional resources, I was feeling as if I was letting my students down because I couldn’t give them my absolute best. 

I had read Michael’s Explore Like a Pirate and I had been following him on Twitter and listening to his podcast for a while before I discovered EMC² Learning. When I learned he and John were releasing this website I was thrilled but because of the financial situation in Argentina I couldn’t afford it. 

I was part of the staff of a Spanish immersion program in Minnesota for the 2021-2022 school year, and to do so I had to leave my home country in the middle of the Argentinian school year. The night before I had to say goodbye to my students in Argentina, I was at a birthday party and I was thinking that I couldn’t just leave and do nothing extraordinary. So I went home at around 11 pm, I sat on my computer and created an account with EMC² Learning — but only signed up for the free Tinker Teacher membership tier.

From Tinker Teacher to Certified Game Changer

At that moment, the free spotlighted resource was a space themed activity called “Save Our Students.” And while I couldn’t implement it quite the way that it was designed to be used right out of the box (because my students don’t have computers), I immediately saw that it was full of all kinds of potential for my classroom if I was just willing to put in a little bit of creative effort. So I took the core idea and adjusted it to fit my reality. I created spaceship maps, the individual parts to fix it (as stickers to paste over the maps), logos for the different teams, random events to solve, madness cards for the team that couldn’t solve them, and of course the impostors. I finished at around 3 am.

"The following day I went to school, used chairs, hula hoops and caution tape to create the spaceships and… well… you can imagine how that went. Kids went crazy! They couldn’t believe we were doing something like that, and they didn’t even realize they worked a lot, even more than a regular day. "

If it hadn’t been for the initial idea I got at EMC² Learning we wouldn’t have done that activity, and probably my last day with them would’ve been pretty boring and not memorable at all. 

That was the moment I knew I had to get the membership no matter what.

Since I started using EMC² Learning on a regular basis my work life has been easier and especially more enjoyable. I love what I can offer my students thanks to this community, and I’m more excited to go to class myself! This year I’m fully gamifying my 5th grade class for the first time. So far it’s looking good and promising. Kids are loving it. We owe a lot to the EMC² Learning community. If it wasn’t for them I couldn’t be doing this at all.

Truly, I have no other words than congratulations! I love the work you’re doing and how you are genuinely helping change the world. 

EMC² Learning is home to more than 600 fully editable resources for any course or content area. Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps enjoy a full year of access to each of these resources on demand. We hope you’ll consider joining us to unlock a full year of site access. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.

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