Monday, September 21, 2009

Learning to Teach

Everything here is a learning experience.  Literally everything.  I was a science major in college, which basically means that I learned how to memorize and regurgitate large lists of information.  My only worry was how I was going to cram all of it into my brain before the exam.  I never had to think about how others learn, or how to effectively teach someone else.

... until last Monday.

That was the first day of programs.  And for me, the first day of Children's English.  My first day as a teacher.  Thank goodness Dana is my Children's English partner-in-crime, because I'm fairly certain that without her, the first class would have amounted to me standing in front of a bunch of kids like a deer in headlights.  We anticipated having only a handful of kids show up for the first day of class, as word-of-mouth seems to be the primary source of information around here (and it is neither rapid nor entirely reliable).  So when 8 kids showed up, pencils in hand, we were pleasantly surprised.  Throughout the course of the week, parents walked into the library, kids in tow, and asked to have them enrolled in Children's English.  By the end of the week, we had a total of 20 kids... the most we've ever had enrolled in a program in the library space.

Seeing the third floor turned into a classroom every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon has been exciting, rewarding... and slightly overwhelming.  We recently decided to split the class into two, in order to give our students more attention and lessons that better fit their abilities.  And thanks to the help our fellow PDs have offered, we will have twice the number of profes!  (Seriously.  Mil gracias!)  We're hoping that with this new arrangement the kids in Children's English will learn more effectively and retain more information.

Now, instead of pulling all-nighters to cram for the next big neuroscience exam, my nights are spent thinking about how our 9 youngest students learn best and researching engaging learning activities, in order to tailor lessons to best suit them.  It is certainly a learning experience... but it is also a welcome change of pace - thinking about others instead of myself.  And a good reminder of why we chose to come to Ecuador in the first place.

Thanks for checking in!

PS. Sorry things have been a little slow in the blog world... we're adjusting to our new schedules, and it seems we're all playing catch-up around here.  Here's to an attempt at consistency!  :)

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