Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chalk Dust and Smiles

Reflections from: 9/27/11

Today was my first day of teaching, and it was a perfect day. My first class was a group of student who are in P2 and P3. Most of them are about 12-14 years old, and I have never seen a more respectful and engaged group of preteen boys in my life. Since I did not know their English abilities, I thought I would start with a simple activity dealing with food. As the class ended, I told them their homework was to write sentences with the vocabulary we had learned that day. I thought they would rush out of the classroom when I dismissed them because they had a free period after. Instead, every single one of them stayed to finish their homework. Some boys stayed even longer to ask me questions about other homework or to define words.  

Earnest and I

A few hours later, I had class with some of the staff at EDD. This group has a decent working knowledge of basic English. I decided to start teaching them descriptions so if they were having difficulty remembering an English word, they would have the tools to describe what they are talking about. I had not expected to teach a class like this and felt it might be awkward teaching people who were older than myself. However, it was like teaching a group of friends I had known forever. Each of them asked great questions and some were using the words we had learned in context during our lunch break.

Claire with Eric

At the end of the day, my hands were covered in chalk, but I couldn’t help but smile as I played cards with some of the boys and chatted with them in English. In the 20 years I have been alive, today was the best first day of school ever.


Mom said...

Elena, I had tears in my eyes as I read your first entry. I am so glad that your "first day" was so positive for you. Keep up the good work!

Annabelle said...

Elena!! I have tears in my eyes as well :) I am so happy to hear that everything is going so well!! Wish I could be there to see it!

Liz said...

Elena, So glad that you had such a great first day. I am enjoying reading about your experiences. It is so nice to have students and adults who want to learn so much!

Aunt Lina said...

What a great experience for you and thanks for sharing it with us. Very moving indeed!!

Ally B said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes. It must feel so rewarding already to have these kids looking up to you and respecting you while they look forward to learning more. I can't wait to visit Miami Beach, Cali. Much love!!!

Steve Rand said...


Amazing stuff! I am very proud of you(which goes without saying)!

NOTE: I finally received the GMCR matching funds. I will contact Rafiki by phone and arrange a wire transfer.

Fran Raymond said...

Elena, I just caught up with your blog. Your first day of teaching gives me goosebumps!
I am very, very proud of you. You are certainly in the right place. You will have other first days but I bet they won't be better than this one.

Kate Laddison said...

I, too, just caught up with you here. Amazing stuff ... I'm so glad you're blogging about this experience. I'm awestruck - the words, the pictures, the experience. Can't wait to read more.