In the Classroom: Teaching in Panama
Bob Pittman, Director of MissionNext Education, journeyed to Panama to discover a little bit about what life is like in an international Christian classroom. The first stop: Juntos Podemos Curundu. We met with Eric Garcia, Director of…
The first stop: Juntos Podemos Curundu
We met with Eric Garcia, Director of Juntos Podemos Curundu, who had worked with a company for 20 years in IT. He felt the Lord wanted him to do something else, so he quit — with no new job lined up. Shortly after that, a position opened up at Juntos Podemos Curundu. The school is in a poor neighborhood which has often been thought to be unsafe. But by God’s grace, the local people have left them alone because they appreciate what the school is doing for their kids.
The school is bilingual and ministers to local kids in grades K-5, with plans to add a grade each year. It also offers a secondary school for adults that follows a GED program. The secondary school meets in the evenings and has about 70 students who get degrees in commerce.
The vision of Juntos Podemos Curundu is to:
- Offer bilingual education.
- Give the kids a good education.
- Ensure the kids come to know the Lord.
Our next stop: Crossroads Christian Academy
Crossroads Christian Academy began in 1997 when several homeschool families asked if they could use the church facilities. Each family took a Sunday School room and shared recess, lunch and a few common activities. The school has three distinctives:
- They are English.
- They have American curriculum, and
- They are distinctively Christian..
Crossroads is a member of the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS) and now has about 270 students.
While at Crossroads, I caught up with several teachers who ended up in Panama through MissionNext Education. School Director, Beth Almack, said that, of the staff of 44, about 50% come from the U.S., and “most of our solid leads come from MissionNext.” The school provides its staff a stipend, though families who come will need to raise some support.
One teacher said she found her position through an internet search for missions and teaching that led her to MissionNext Education. She was contacted “within hours” of posting her profile, and went to the field within two months. Another teacher shared, “Coming to Panama has been an amazing experience, and I am so thankful that God directed me to Crossroads Christian Academy, whether I am here for just the two years on my current contract or for 20 more!”
Panama is just one pin in the map. Is God calling you to take your classroom somewhere new? If you are searching to teach internationally, find the right fit in one of our many international Christian schools through MissionNext Education.