As some of you know, I am aspiring to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) in Honduras after college. This all plays into the Honduras thing. Well, Monday I had the chance to go to a local elementary school and shadow the ESL teacher there (whom I will be referring to as Mrs. Teacher). It was a very interesting experience, I learned a lot and really got a good feel of what this career could look like. I want to take you through some of the highlights of my day, and some of my thoughts as the day went on.
5:45 a.m: Wake up and attempt to get ready by 6:45. The "attempt to get ready" part had nothing to do with only having an hour to get ready. That's the easy part. The hard part is getting out of bed AND getting ready in an hour! :) I can't help it, I like sleeping in!
7:15 a.m: Get to the school and check in. The teacher that I was job shadowing, I had never met before. But, thankfully we hit it off great and we got to go over the schedule for the day and report to "duty". We had to hold open the doors for the kids as they got off the bus and came in the school, it was so awesome to see all of their smiling faces and the pride that Mrs. Teacher took in greeting them and hopefully helping to start their day off on the right track.
Next: I'm not really sure what time everything else went down, but I'll try to guess! After "duty" we had planning time. We went over the schedule some more and talked about all of the different aspects of Mrs. Teacher's job. We talked about the different kids, and at this point I realized how much more than a teacher this lady was. She was practically a guidance counselor in addition to an ESL teacher! I also helped her to be able to expand the ESL program, we talked about what the ELL's (English Language Learner's) struggle with the most and how to pinpoint those needs.
8:20: We had two Kindergarten aged kids come in. They were SO cute! They were both dealing with some family issues, so we read a book to them (in English) about a family and we talked about the different parts of a family. They were so much fun to talk and play with. After reading, they got to draw a picture of their family on the wipe-off board. While this doesn't sound like a very solid lesson, the whole time that they were talking and playing, Mrs. Teacher pointed out different English words to them. They were pretty fluent, they just had some trouble with the little details of English.
Then: We went into a classroom with a little girl who was in 2nd grade. I sat in the back of the classroom as Mrs. Teacher helped this little girl during her class' English time. It was pretty laid back and more of a tutoring type of thing. If the little girl needed extra help that the normal teacher couldn't give her Mrs. Teacher was there to help.
Next: We went into a classroom to teach Spanish. The first class that we taught Spanish to was practicing for a little performance they would be putting on of either Goldilocks or the 3 Little Pigs. I didn't get to see any of the performances, but it was interesting to watch how the class interacted with each other, and it was really easy to see who the class clown and class control freak was. :) I was probably the class control freak at that age. After this class we went to another Spanish class and taught them. During this time I got to see more of a 'teaching' experience. It was a class of 3rd graders, I believe, and they all worked together to read a paper about the Galapagos Islands together in Spanish and English.
11:40??: Lunch time! I got to eat a school lunch, which I was familiar with last year, consisting of a chicken patty sandwich and some tater tots! Yum! We went to the Teacher's lounge to eat and I got to listen in on a few conversations about classes, which was interesting. Not too much else happened during this time, though.
Then: We went to the Library to help out a little boy in the class. It turned out, though, that the class was watching a movie. So, we stayed in there for a couple minutes and then left to do something else. We checked on one of the first kids that we met with to see how he was doing. He was in art class at this time, so I talked with a little boy there and helped him color a picture while Mrs. Teacher was dealing with some behavioral issues. We didn't stay in the class the whole time, so we went back to Mrs. Teacher's desk and worked on developing the ESL program some more.
Lastly: We went into the little boy's class that we met with the first period and the period before while he had play time. We helped him to make up a story and draw and I talked with a couple of other kids in the class as well. During sharing time the little boy got up and talked about his story very well. Meanwhile, there was another kid in the class who kept smiling up and me and scooching closer. Needless to say, he was very distracting!!
Overall the day was very laid back and I got to see the more personal side of teaching in general. I think most teachers would agree with me that teaching is more than the classroom. It's about cultivating relationships with kids who you see 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.