En la Escuela!
The past few days we finally got to go into the schools in San Joaquin. I was really nervous because I know only a little Spanish and the children in the schools know only a little English. I was worried the lesson plans we had prepared were not going to make sense to the students, mainly because of the language barrier. To my surprise, the children received the lessons very well. They were more attentive to any other students I have tutored and some of the groups I had, had six students in them. It could have been because we were something new they were not used to and they felt like they had to listen but the way they acted seemed like they genuinely were interested in learning.
The first day we went into a school, we had prepared a lesson involving leaves and were planning on using them for categorization, detailed observation and as an English lesson. The other lesson plan was a letter writing activity. We had letters from the United States to give to the students and we had planned on teaching them the parts of a letter so they could construct their own letters to send back to their new pen pals. When we arrived at the school, we were told the plans had been changed and we were to go into a preschool-kindergarten aged class where we would be only interacting with the students without our lesson plans. While one group did that, the other group would be in a special needs classroom. We swapped after about forty minutes. This sudden change in our plans demonstrated how a teacher should always have a backup plan and be able to think quick in order to adapt to the changes that are inevitable in a school, no matter the country the school is in.
The second day we were in the school, we got to utilize the lessons we had created. One classroom did the leaf activity where every “student teacher” had their own group of about six or seven and would talk about the similarities and differences in the leaves using Spanish and English. Some students knew some words in English and others knew none. This proved to be difficult at the beginning because I had to think how I could help the ones who knew no English while at the same time challenging those that did know what I was saying. That is where the English-Spanish dictionary comes in handy! Overall, the lesson went really well, thanks to the awesome students we had that stayed engaged throughout the entire lesson.
When we swapped classes again, we did the letter writing activity. Instead of small groups, we did a classroom lesson and the five of us college students would walk around and help those in need of assistance. Their English was not very good, but it was obvious they wanted to learn. Some of the sentences they constructed were a little bit broken but they only get about forty minutes of English a day.
The parents of the students found out we were coming into the school to help teach English and some of the mothers made baked goods for us as a snack and a thank you. It was interesting to see the Costa Rican culture’s influence on the school and how it differed from United State’s schools. One day we had homemade tortillas and a soft cheese and the next day the mother’s made us some kind of sweet bread and cass juice to drink.