Monday, 23 April 2012

Teaching projects begin in Quito

COUNTRY: Ecuador
PROJECT: Teaching & Care Work
WRITTEN BY: Jasmine Byrne

On Monday we finally started our placement! Charice, Samantha and I were transformed from relaxed tourists to struggling English teachers.

At 7am we braved the public transport and caught two bus to get to Fernando Pons school and we were greeted with smiles and kisses from the other teachers. Fernando Pons has about 300 students with grades 1 to 7.

During the first hour or so we were introduced to the student body and we established a timetable. We would be working from 8 to 12 with 5 classes a day each 40 minutes long. For the first class Samantha and Charice were paired together and I was on my own. I was given grade 4 I think, I was taken into the class, given a whiteboard marker and told to start teaching!

It was slightly horrifying as I had not yet been told what to teach and I had no idea what level the classes English was. So I did what anyone else would do in this situation and taught them the alphabet! After getting through each letter I managed to get the class to brainstorm a English word starting with each letter of the alphabet, and when they got stuck I would offer a word and draw them a picture of it so they would i'm not the best artist so now there are about 20 children in Quito that think a VAN is a bus....whoops!

Finally time was up and I got to go to the next class, as I left the children clapped for me and said goodbye. My next class was with Samantha, we had year 6. We again did the alphabet and taught them a few numbers with their English names, eleven to nineteen was a bit of a struggle for them but I think we managed to keep the class happy.

Next was recess and we spent the time drowning in a sea of children climbing on us looking for affection. Charice bought out her camera and the children were quite amazing at the pictures of themselves. The children also showered us in gifts, I came away with a yellow rose and two packets of biscuits which were delicious. Nowwww don't worry we didn't selfishly take the young, poor childrens lunch, beforehand Marcelo hand told us to never say no to a gift or food offerings as it was rude.
After recess Samantha and I were again paired together with grade 7, we taught them a few fruits and tested them by saying a fruit and getting them to draw it or we would draw the fruit and they would have to spell the name, they seemed to love this, and so did we, it was fun! Then we had to swap classes again.

This time we were all together to teach the second grade 7 class, we tried to do the same thing getting them to draw pictures, but they were so restless and loud, I think they were getting bored with us. This time our class seemed to be going for ages because the usually teacher never came to relieve us after the 40 minutes. FINALLY she came, and we were able to go home.

The only thing was, we didn’t know how to get home! After leaving the school we walked around for a while looking for the bus, but no luck! So we went back to the school and asked for directions, one of the teachers ended up walking us to the bus stop and making sure we got on the right bus, thankgod for her :)

After arriving home we ate our delicious lunch made by Marcelo and then fell asleep for the rest of the day. On Tuesday Charice and I both woke up sick. I had Tonsillitis which I get once a months so it was so no surprise, but Charice's illness is undiagnosed. She has seen the doctor and has been given antibiotics but 5 days on she is still sick, but feeling slightly better! So whilst Charice and I spent Tuesday to Thursday sleeping and feeling sorry for ourselves Samantha continued her teaching and and the boys continued their placement.

Whilst sitting at home sick, I decided I didn't like teaching very much so Marcelo has agreed to let me swap. The new plan for me is to go to the boys to there placement for the next week and then start a placement with my best friend Holly and Lauren when they get here! I'm very excited about it.

Samantha on the other hand LOVES teaching, everyday she came home tired, but smiling with a different adventurous story each time. On Tuesday she turned up at the school at 7.45 and discovered that the teachers had decided to have a meeting until some time after 9. In the meantime she sat there watching the kids run feral through the school. When classes finally started she taught the children some fruits, vegetables, animals and family. She also had bus trouble Tuesday morning, waiting a whole half an hour for a bus to finally appear going to the right place!

On Wednesday everything went according the plan and she said "it was wonderful". On Thursday (the last day for the week) the first three classes were normal and then there was recess, after this the bell went and she went to find where her next class was, only to be ushered into a 'cave' and fed some polenta "thing" and what she THOUGHT was aromatic water and was then told there would be no more classes as the children had dance classes for the rest of the day. That night she came home and said "yay, I finally get to sleep in tomorrow".

Now, I haven't yet had a chance to talk about my amazing host father Marcelo Maldonado. Marcelo refers to us girls as his little ones or his spoilt ones and the boys as professors. He describes Jeff as a Tsunami and Blake as a Womaniser! Haha.

Marcelo loves us, we are the daughters he has never had. AND he is an amazing cook! Here in Ecuador we have breakfast as normal but lunch and dinner and sort of swapped...we have a huge meal and dessert for lunch and then sandwiches for dinner. Lunch usually consists of rice and meat or salad and it is DELICIOUS, we always look forward to coming home at 1.30 for lunch and walking out of the lift to smell amazing food waiting for us. Marcelo loves talk about previous volunteers and always ends the conversation with "we could write a book you know". We love him.

Until next time,
- Jasmine Byrne

1 comment:

  1. I used my aviation contacts to open a travel agency. I used to book Caribbean flights. Cheap flights to Quito