To those who’ve complained about me not updating: SORRY! I’ve been busy, and I wasn’t feeling well over the weekend.
Last week was my first full week of teaching. School doesn’t quite feel like it’s really begun, though. All that matters in Barranquilla right now is the upcoming Carnaval; school still doesn’t last a full day, and I won’t have a set schedule until the festivities are over. So far, though, teaching here is hard. They told us gringo teachers that we wouldn’t have to teach by ourselves, but because of a teacher shortage that’s exactly what’s happening. Let me tell you, 40+ kids with one teacher is not an easy class to manage. In my two 3rd grade classes the homeroom teachers stay in the room, so at least there is someone else to help with the discipline if not the teaching, but in my 4th grade classes – in which I’m supposed to work with the 4th/5th grade English teacher – I’m usually by myself. That many students with a young teacher they don’t know is a recipe for disaster! There have been some really chaotic classes, and I’m not sure how much the students have actually learned. I’m pretty sure my 3rd graders know the alphabet, numbers, and basic greetings at this point, but my 4th graders are behind because instead of teaching I’m constantly telling students to sit down, stop fighting, stop throwing things and trying to keep them all from going to the bathroom at the same time. It’s exhausting and frustrating, and I need to figure out how to keep control so that the students who really do want to learn have the opportunity to do so.
The craziest thing is that even the worst-behaved students shower me with hugs and kisses in the halls and seek my approval in the classroom. One of the boys who kept trying to fight another boy in class today was also the most eager to show me what he’d copied from the board. Last Friday in one of my crazy 4th grade classes, a handful of girls presented me with a heartfelt letter about how happy they are to to be learning English from me, along with a plastic necklace and matching earrings. I’ve received other notes, stickers, and candy from students as well. And it boggled my mind today when a girl who’d been rude during class and argued with me was the first to run up and give me a hug during recess. I’m not sure what to make of it, really!
Well that’s all for now… will probably not update again until after Carnaval! 🙂