Those Who Can- Teach!
Buenos Dias Amigos/ Amigas.
I hope you are all well and enjoying Spring. From what I have heard it has been warming up nicely as of late. We certainly need some warmth up here in Huaraz. The days can be pleasant, but as soon as the sun retires, the temperature certainly drops and with a small room, without heating and cold water from the taps and showers, I am feeling it.
On a more postitive and slightly different note, you will be happy to learn that I have now completed two days teaching at various schools in an around the small Andean City.
My first day back in the classroom was to be on Monday, where I would be assisting a teacher at the local Language Centre. This is a gathering point for any local person wanting to improve their English. From what I have been told, all students pay $10 per month and receive 30 hours tuition in small classes of no more than 15. I for one happen to think this is very good value.
If I must be honest I spent most of Monday in a frantic state. As a fairly fresh faced graduate, with not one hour of teaching experience under my belt, the fear of the unkown was very evident. Various thoughts, some on the utterly stupendous side, raced through my mind. I wondered what the standard of English would be and if basic, what would I do? A certain G word ( Grammar) had me worried too. What if a student asked me a question I couldn´t answer?
Monday afternoon passed slowly until finally my sweaty palms and I made the 10 minute walk to the centre. As always, despite being a geographer, I managed to get totally lost and end up on the wrong side of town. A taxi ride was in order and after spending nearly 10 minutes trying to explain in atrocious Spanish, where I wanted to go, soon arrived outside the main entrance.
Luckily Richard, Harry and Oliver ( other volunteers ), were waiting outside for me and took me upstairs to my classroom. I nodded and said hello to nearly every student en-route, a bit like Mr Mick Dundee on his first trip to the Big Apple.
I slowly opened the door and was greeted by a small room, with 14 students of various ages, sitting at seperate desks circling the white board. Luckily Luis was already there when I arrived and he said a few words before he gave me my 20 minutes of fame. I was extremely nervous, especially having 14 blank faced Peruvians all staring at me waiting to see what I would say.
A typical introduction was in order and so I wrote my name on the board in a rather p*ssed fashion. The gradient was nearly as severe as the worlds steepest street in Dunedin. I told the students where I was from, what I did and why I was in Peru. I managed to ease some of the strain by passing around some photos of home. As they passed them around i would approach a student and tell them what the content of the photo was. A few of the girls said that Eleanor ( my sister) was very beautiful and my Dad very young. If you are reading then I´m sure you are flattered!
I then tried to lighten the mood my intoducing a name game, where each student would stand up and tell me their name before spelling it. It may take me a while to learn them all as some are rather on the long side. Names such as Carlos, Sandra and Enrique stand out however!
For the remainder of the lesson, I worked along side Luis, helping the students with an activity that had been set the day before. Before i knew it the bell rang and i was saying goodbye to the students. I thought it went rather well and wondered, as usual, why I had worried so much.
After such a stressful day, some alcoholic relief was in order and myself,Richard and James headed to a famous watering hole in town called Tambo Bar. Within 5 minutes the whisky was poured and was slipping quite nicely down my throat. We were soon greeted by the other volunteers and soon became well aquainted with one another. After a few drinks the Giant jenga set came out and we actually nearly reached the ceiling, surpassing Richard´s height of 6´¨5. At midnight I left the other volunteers and made my way home. Actually managed it in a rather drunken state and didn´t get lost once! It wasn´t until i got home that i realised that i hadn´t paid the bar man for any of my drinks. Think its only fair I go back and pay my way.
So that is day one out of the way- i spent the next day at the local secondary school,but for the relief of my fingers and your eyes, will save this post for another time.
I´m off to prepare another lesson plan.