Friday, September 5, 2008

A day at a time

This year is going to be significantly different from last year. My current students are younger in more ways than just age. Although I only have six students, sometimes it feels as if I had thirty! What do teachers in the US do with ESL students learning to read for the first time? I have my hands full with just four learners. The other two students know how to read, but English is not their first language, so they don't always understand what they're reading. I'm just going to have to take this year one day (even hour sometimes) at a time.

My kids are a unique bunch. The final student arrived Wednesday, and introduced an entirely different dynamic to the class. He does not know how to behave in a classroom setting. He also does not read or write even his own name, but he does have an extremely active imagination and will build forts out of his pencils and then begin shooting them down. He'll also begin a rousing rendition of "Oh When the Saints" at random intervals of the day - and he can sing it with full gospel style. Yesterday he solemnly asked another teacher to guard his "very important wallet" because "it has money in it, and Elvis Presley's driver's license!" This child is six!

We've begun making piñatas in class in anticipation of Independence Day September 16th. I have been teaching the students brief lessons about Mexico. Making piñatas with a group of 5 - 8 year olds isn't the easiest thing to do, but they sure love doing it, and they are learning how to follow directions and get along with each other as they layer on goopy messes of watery flour and scrap paper.

Today we gave piñata-making a break and concocted avocado popsicles instead. May not sound very appetizing to some, but they taste quite good. We had and avocado/sugar/lime juice mess on the table an some of the kids by the time the stuff was made, but it all turned out pretty well.

Last night five of us single teachers from PCS went out to eat downtown at a restaurant named El Balcon. You can't get better food for better prices anywhere else. Sunday is the birthday of one of the ladies, so Janelle and Lindsey went downtown ahead of Bethany, Flo, and I to decorate the table and hide a cake in the kitchen. When we'd finished dinner, our waiter turned off the lights over our table and brought out the cake with the lit candles.

We took a brief walk downtown afterwards and admired all the festive lights and decorations put up for Independence Day. It's reminiscent of Christmas in looks, because Mexico's colors are red, green, and white.

Last week I signed up for flute lessons at the seminary a few blocks from here. It will be the first time I have lessons from someone who can actually play the flute! Back in 7th grade, when I first started lessons, my teacher knew the fingerings and how it should sound, but couldn't play the flute himself. That was the only time I actually had lessons, although I've practiced sporadically since then. This will be an adventure.

No comments: