Friday, 29 June 2012

I am now a teacher!

Sorry for not blogging in a long time, I’ve been super busy the past two weeks. Right after I made the “Day in the life of” post my schedule actually changed a lot. The accounting office at DBS was understaffed so now in the mornings I go there to work until lunch time. I was also asked to become an English teacher at DBS’ ALS (alternative learning system) program. It’s a free program for out of school youth who want to go back to school or college. We hold classes Monday-Thursday from 4:30-7:30pm and hopefully by the end of the year the students can write and pass the elementary level exam  (so they can join a public high school) or the high school level exam (so they can go to college). There are currently over 100 students enrolled. DBS’s program is actually really good- last year they had a 100% pass rate for the elementary level exam and an 86% pass rate for the high school exam. Some of the kids we see during the busina even come for ALS.

I have to admit the first day of class was very intimidating- Helen and I went there right after Busina and we were separated to teach two different classes. Neither of us had any lesson plan prepared! For the first part of class I made them play hangman with English words and luckily I found an English workbook. So for the second part of class I made them change verbs to the past tense and make sentences with words I gave them. Mondays are now being devoted for all my lesson planning! Unfortunately I think there are quite a few students who don’t understand what I say because of the language barrier, so most of the time another volunteer or student has to translate for them. The kids are really great (as expected)- really goofy and friendly, though sometimes it’s hard to get them to talk in front of the class in English without using chocolate as an incentive.  We also do a lot of spelling bees which is always exciting (the kids get into teams and whoever spells the word correctly first gets a chocolate). One thing that sucks is that the students don’t get textbooks, and they are too poor to buy their own. I’m not sure how one is supposed to study and pass for an exam without textbooks, but considering the high pass rates for DBS, I guess their system does work. I think I will start making handouts to give the students, so before the exam in October they have materials they can study from at home.

Overall the ALS experience has been great so far- I’m so busy now (mornings at the accounting office, afternoons on the busina and evenings teaching ALS) but I love it! I’m really glad I’m here till October, I hope all my kids pass the exam!
We made the kids write a small introduction about themselves and read it aloud to the class.

Myself, Helen and Riza (a former ALS grad) who acts as translator for us.

Kids in one of our classes. Ages range from 12 to early 20s.

Amy and Melvin having one on one sessions with some of the weaker students.

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