Life is moving along here. My schedule is slowly but surely picking up…I'm teaching/observing every afternoon, and I'm going to be teaching English at 2 of my schools, twice a week. The director of the local institute also asked me to help put together the library; the previous volunteer managed to get a bunch of books donated and dropped off, which are now just sitting in piles in a locked room. So I'll be the librarian a few mornings a week. I've started running most mornings, too, which has been really nice. My knee is holding up well, despite the rough terrain.
Today I taught my very first charla ("talk") all by myself…I've been given Berta's Primero class due to scheduling problems (honestly I think she lied about her sudden schedule change so I'd have no choice but to take her class…I only let it happen because I'm desperate for something to do). It still throws me for a loop the way students are trained to learn here. I wanted to get to know the class better, so I brought them all an index card, and asked them to list some basic information: their names, gender, age, number of people in their family (living with them), favorite hobby, future plans, and a question for me. I even drew an example index card on the board, listing each piece of information I wanted. It took these kids 20 of the 35 minutes in our class period to finish what I planned would take less than 5. And it wasn't that they weren't on task. It just took them forever to consider each question and come up with the answer. It was frustrating, because at first I thought it was my fault, that I had written something in bad Spanish or hadn't explained it properly. But it wasn't that. They are fed everything by their teachers; learning is by rote, they are told what to write down in their notebooks word for word. So when I come in and ask them to write their own answers, it's difficult. They can do it (they all eventually turned in completed cards), it just takes them a lot more to do it. Definitely something I'll be keeping in mind when planning my lessons.
Teacher workshop tomorrow. My site mate invited me to attend the workshop he'd planned if I'd agree to do a few dinamicas with the teachers to keep the energy up (it's like a 6 hour workshop). He's also giving me some time in the schedule to give a short talk about starting a local women's group (basically I'm going to beg for friends haha). Can't believe it's already the end of the week…it's Feria in Coban this weekend so I'll probably spend the day there on Saturday. Then Sunday it's soccer with the teachers. Next week there's no class due to exams, so I'll have a week to twiddle my thumbs. I'll use the time to work on my Q'eqchi'.
Dreams of a Beached Cow
4 years ago