So here we are, teaching our first week of class in the new school year. Its exciting, and more than a bit scary. I am teaching a class for the first time in my life, and though it is on a topic I know very well (Introduction to Multimedia), its in Spanish, which I don’t know as well as I would like. Also, I’m teaching from a text that I’ve spent the last three months writing myself (again in Spanish…with more than a little help from family/friends and google translate). Finally, I’m teaching in a brand-new computer lab that one of the more computer savvy people at the institute and I had to put together from the ground up (and I’m still working the kinks out of)…financed by generous donations from so many awesome people! So needless to say, there’s a lot going into this.
Sadly, it is starting off a little more slowly than I would have liked. The vocational schools in Bolivia all start on Feb. 1, however, for the first two weeks of class, there are still students signing up! My first day, I only had two students, but it has been growing steadily. The problem is, however, that each time a new group of students starts the class, I have to go back and go over all the material I already covered…while trying to keep the students who were there on the first day engaged with other work. Not the best scenario for a rookie teacher.
All in all, it has been a good experience. The students seem interested in the material, and hungry to learn more about it, so that’s a good sign.
I’ve taken a few pictures with students using the lab, and have a short movie below.
the Flash Player to see this video.
And while I’m teaching this class, I also still need to finish up the last couple sections of the text…that we’ll be using in a few short months.
So that’s what’s been happening with me…now let’s hear from Laura:
After spending January preparing my materials to teach English at the Kinder, Madre Clara approached me and asked if I’d be willing to teach Computer class instead as their computer teach had not yet shown up. Embracing the flexibility that Bolivia has taught me, I said no problem with a smile, put aside all my prepared materials and started over from scratch. I spent that first week doing diagnostics of my computer lab- full of the best equipment 1995-1999 had to offer, which would be fine if they worked. Tom taught me some basic computer disassembly and what wires to wiggle. Who would have thought I’d come to Bolivia to learn how to repair computers? Of the 31 computers in there, so far 24 are functioning, which should be interesting when I have a class of 36 come in. Basically my lesson plans involve teaching the parts of the computer, how to properly turn the computers on and off, and how to use the mouse. They have a bunch of educational games they can play also and I’m going to show some movies and teach a little English too. In a few weeks, I’ll start having two classes a day in there.
For now, I’m helping out in the classroom with 37 pre-Kinder kids, ages 4-5, as they have the hardest time adjusting to school. Most of the time I’m chasing down kids trying to escape or calming kids having a melt-down. One funny tidbit from the week: Tom came over on Friday to help me film some students in the computer lab. During the beginning of the day when all the students line up and sing songs, there was one boy having a particularly bad melt-down. He had gotten himself so worked up he was throwing up his lunch all over the place and when a female teacher approached him, he looked spooked and ran. He ran right to Tom, and clung. Tom tried to take him to his professor and leave him there but he kept running back to him. So after taking the kid to bathroom to clean him up, Tom had a shadow for about an hour. Everybody was cracking up about it. I guess the kid was a daddy’s-boy.
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