This week marks the third week of my teaching experience, and not one day has been an easy one. A typical day involves me waking up at 6:00 (alright fine, 6:15 with my snooze button), and getting to the center for 7:15. Once there I finish up last minute preparations, and get to the school prayer for 7:45. At 8:00, after prayer, I have class for 4 hours, not including a half hour break in the middle. After lunch, I help run activities and workshops for the girls. At 5:45, everyone goes to rosary and then dinner follows at 6:00. Every weeknight, the church has an event such as mass, holy hour, or scripture reading. That starts at 7:00, so after dinner, I help bring the girls there, walk them back home at 8:00, and am usually home by 8:15-8:30. Long story short: Days here are pretty full. I blink and suddenly a day has already passed!
I'm with these girls all day, every day. I'm their teacher, I'm their mentor, I'm their friend, I'm their supervisor, I'm their big sister and more. So it's tough to find a balance between being a teacher they respect and a friend they can goof around with. During class, they just want to play and have fun. I get frustrated that their disruptions don't allow me to teach and I start to lose control of the classroom, so I put on my serious face. Once I get stern with them they get upset and tell me I'm mean. I don't care if they tell me that because their emotions have a 2 second rebound rate, but it still wastes time trying to get them to quiet down! Despite that, their questions usually take up a lot of time for no reason other than it takes a few minutes for me to understand what their saying. I've been getting better at differentiating between the important questions and the one that are completely irrelevant to life. (por ejemplo: Christina can you paint my nails later? Christina can I color during class? Christina what are the names of your cats?) Aye! Shush you little children! But like I said, it's a tough balance because part of me just wants to sit and paint my nails with them and color and share stories about our pets and our lives. I know my responsibility to them, however, and whether or not they like it, they have to learn.
Which brings me to my next struggle: TEACHING! Even despite the distractions, it's so difficult to teach! I understand the central nervous system. I can tell you about the different parts, I can tell you about sensory and motor neurons, and I can tell you what's happening in your body when you prick your finger on a needle. But understanding it and explaining it to students who have never heard of such things are two very different things. My method of teaching can be classified as a learn-as-you-go method. It's good that I'm learning and becoming more aware of what they can and can't do, but I'm so worried I'm not going to prepare them enough for their exams!
Though I did have a good lesson last week with my segundo ciclo. I explained the flow of blood through the heart and body, and taught them about deoxygenated/oxygenated blood. Afterwards one of the girls came up to me and pointed out her dark veins on her wrist and told me how that was deoxygenated blood. I asked her where that blood was flowing to and with a half second's hesitation she confidently responded, "Mi corazon (My heart)." I couldn't stop smiling. (The answer was correct.)
Hopefully I'll have more accomplishments to report in my next post.