Since the moment I arrived in Quito, I have not had one day where I didn’t have to go to a full day of classes, visit a tourist attraction, or hang out with the family and watch the kids. Until today. I am doing nothing today!
Until this past week, WorldTeach kept us busy in classes from 9am until 6:30pm. This week, we started out practice teaching so WorldTeach classes only ran from 10am until 5 pm and then I rushed over to SECAP to teach from 6pm until 8pm. I have to admit, last week I was tired and a bit overwhelmed. I had to keep telling myself that it was only a few days of crazy, and then everything would be fine.
Teaching English is SO FREAKING HARD. It is nothing like teaching math. NOTHING!!! Here are all of my reasons why:
- First of all, the composition of the class kept changing. One day, there was 11 people in class. The next day there were 18 people, 12 of which were brand new. The next day, only 8 people showed up – three of whom were new. Each day, the level of the class changed drastically so it was nearly impossible to plan. Since the class is offered free to the public, this was to be expected. But, DAMN!, it made it hard to plan and teach.
- People have no idea what you are saying. For example, “I would like to start…”. NO. Not allowed. ‘I would like to’ is a really advanced verb tense in English. ‘We’re going to…’. NO. Not allowed. Future tense using going to is too difficult for a basic student. I am going to have to re-learn how to give directions.
- I was really nervous and kept talking but no one could understand me. And then I just said, “Does everyone understand?” instead of asking specific questions like “Does father mean a man or woman?”. Concept checking. Really tough when you are nervous.
- The students went through the material in my plans with record breaking speed one day, then took forever the next. My teacher timing is really off. I know how long kids will take when they are doing math but adults learning English in Ecuador…who knows?
- I know I’m doing things wrong and I can’t stop myself. As I was saying the things listed in #2, I was telling myself to stop and I couldn’t!! I knew I shouldn’t have just asked if everyone understood something but I couldn’t stop myself!
I know I will get it right with time. It’s just really, really hard! One the upside, my three days of teaching are finished and I can sit back and observe others for the rest of September. So my crazy schedule will no longer be so crazy. One of my WorldTeach friends took a picture of me with my tiny class on my last night. Here is my class with adults, children, and everything in-between!
I am going to be a MUCH better teacher – math or English – when all of this is done. This is one of the reasons I came here – to refresh my teaching. It’s already happening!