Friday, March 8, 2013

Volunteering (follow-up)

Remember that day when I was insanely terrified to teach immigrants english?

I wish my Present Self could go back to my Past Self and give Myself a big slap on the face. And then say YO, CHILL OUT. IT IS GOING TO BE FINE.

Because it was! I love volunteering! Yay!

My class isn't very large, about 8 students, but the students are all extremely friendly. Their ages range between 23 and 50s. Actually, most are older, I just have one 23 year old student from Senegal. His name is Makhtar and he is awesome.

I came into my first day prepared with a detailed lesson plan, along with a plan B, C, D, E and F. My biggest fear was having awkward silence and not being able to fill my 1.5 block of time. I've never taught any kind of class for that long before.

Luckily for me though, the format was much more informal. The small class size helped a lot with that. We all just gathered and I taught useful phrases and answered lots of questions. The time completely flew by without me even noticing. At times my spanish was definitely inaccurate, but a few of my students have some prior experience with english so they were able to understand what I was trying to say and help translate to the other students who know absolutely no english.

Despite the varying language levels, all my students exude enthusiasm. They are all taking these english classes because they want to learn it so much. It's a kind of enthusiasm I've never come to show while learning spanish, even though spanish was never a requirement for me. Interesting to think about, no? My classmates and I love complaining about spanish. There's too much homework...the tests are too long...why do the teachers speak in spanish and so fast? What the heck did she say just now?

My students actually asked if I could speak more english, to help them practice listening. I started out speaking only spanish because I didn't want them to feel intimidated, so I was surprised when they spoke up about wanting me to speak more of it. They remind me of little baby birds hopping around, eagerly waiting for the day when they can finally take flight. It's very (excuse my cheese) heart warming and makes me love spending my time with them. I just don't want to let them down.

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