Our Apoyo Escolar program, for which I am the "point" PD, has really taken off this month. Up to 15 students, the course is teaching us a variety of lessons, first of which is how to do long division Ecuadorian style. Let me tell you, it is CONFUSING.
We have a wide range of students who come every day; La Mafe, who does a lot of her homework in class and is our model student in terms of study habits and work ethic; Cecibel, who meticulously works on every language assignment she gets with as much attention to detail as would a cake decorator; Jonathan, who yells across the room at each Profe asking them to give him the answer to whatever he's working on (to no avail); Dennis, who at age 8 is still learning his alphabet yet has one of the most creative minds of any of our students. Each student has their own strengths and weaknesses; the challenge we as "Profes" face lies in identifying what needs we are capable of addressing and spreading ourselves evenly between each student.
Today I was working with Dennis, coaxing him with promises of time in "La Cueva" with rompe-cabezas (puzzles) and books if he finished his simple addition problems. 10 problems and 50 minutes later, we plopped down in the tent and began to read. Dennis still has not mastered the alphabet, and so reading is an embarrassing and painful task for him. To help him with his confidence, and to encourage him to learn his letters, Seth provided me with the idea of creating letter flash-cards to go over with him before every book. As we both lay under the colored sheets of the cave, we worked our way through the whole alphabet, getting a little confused between 'S' and 'C', 'T' and 'B' (not entirely sure how that works out...), but overall gaining confidence as he identified each letter and sounded his way through the accompanying word below (LEON! HOGAR! MAPA!). When we turned to his book of choice (Donde viven los monstruos; Where the Wild Things Are), he pointed with pride at each letter he recognized.
I couldn't have been prouder.
Good night from South America,