Today I started a basic English class with my class of 10 soldiers at Canton Norte. I got a phone call on Friday night to tell me that I would no longer be working with Angela, but would have my own class of 10 soldiers that were at a ‘basic English’ level and I was to teach them English.
I had been told no more than that I was to teach them English. I was told to teach them however I wanted, whatever I wanted. They were unable to tell me how long I would be teaching them for and what my goal was. It was vague – I was not given a curriculum nor any guidelines or parameters. I was to teach the students from 7am to 12noon for three days a week. It is a long time to be learning another language – it is really hard to prepare for as well and there is no wi-fi in the building – and my Mac doesn’t connect. It seemed very vague and unstructured for the military.
I had no knowledge of where to start the class – they told me that they were all brand new beginners, so I prepped based on that. I looked up various curricula on the internet and downloaded a beginner test to give them to see what they knew so that I could have some idea of where they were. I came up with a starting point and what I saw that level A1 English students needed to know and planned the next few weeks accordingly.
The class ended up going really well – I love the soldiers – they are funny and bright and eager to learn and participate. There were only 3 girls in the class. All of the students had elected to come to Bogota to learn English in the hopes of advancing their careers. Most had family back in their hometowns and only get to see them at the weekends. They are between the ages of 23- 40. I am super exited to be working with them for the next few weeks.
A student had a computer that connected, so we were able to use my USB to project some Power Points on the board. They were very receptive and I feel positive about my new experience here with them. I just hope it works out – I have been shown very little and have had to try to figure things out – I spent a good deal of $ on copies as I was given no guidance and really want the students to learn as much as possible. With the class being so long, I have to keep changing what we are doing and how we are doing it.
I came home exhausted – I can only imagine how the students feel. I made rice and looked up information on Medellin. We are going there for the long weekend. I am excited. I am feeling pretty lazy and because I get to sleep in a bit tomorrow as there is no class until 2pm – I’ll plan in the morning!