The weekend brought some interesting adventures, mainly in my own brain. I spent much of the time writing, reading, and researching possible lesson plans for the children. I was excited to begin teaching on Monday, only to go to the school and find out that it was another school holiday!
I went out to a local coffee shop, Cappuccino, and a photography store, Tao Technologies, to talk to some parents about possibly private tutoring their children in English. Since I have time on weekday evenings and weekends, I am looking to find more time with the children.
School begins at 8:30, but I only teach 3 hours a day Monday through Friday. The average school day for me goes like this:
9:30 Get to school and make preparations for the lesson (copies/worksheets)
10:30 Grade 1
12:30 Grade 3
1:30 Grade 2
Often, teaching in this setting is hard because we don’t have real control over the class. With no translator or local teacher in the classroom, the children are less likely to listen. Nevertheless, we find games and demonstrations that get them interested. For example, on Tuesday, in the classes we played “one of these things is not like the other”. I would draw shapes on the board and ask the children tell me in English which shape is which and which did not belong in the grouping. Afterwards, we did worksheets asking them to identify the number of animals in a drawing and then write the answers in English. If they finished that, we would take them outside to play Duck, Duck, Goose or toss the ball. During the ball games, we ask them to say things like their favorite food, favorite color, or count when the ball is thrown to them.
The most entertaining thing that happened on Tuesday was tug-of-war using my body. Once we got back to the classroom, a few of the kids decided them wanted to hug me all at once. That hug turned into 5 children pulling on my left arm and 5 children pulling on my right. My torso turned into a flag. Haha!
On Wednesday, we didn’t have class again because of school-wide exams. I was going to go to another part of the island with my friend Fabienne. Mango Bay was our destination, but it was too far to walk. Ultimately, we rented a scooter, but the mountains on the island were a little too precarious for my liking. Climbing at an 80 degree angle, the scooter was just not going to make it with two people. I hopped off and walked all the way back to my apartment, then passed out for three hours from exhaustion. Mountain-top experiences? Oh yes, I’ve had them!