Thursday, March 29, 2012

Samantha´s Experience

Hola! My name is Samantha, I’ve been interning at La Providencia for the past two months, and I’ll be going back to the States at the end of April. So far, it’s been quite the adventure, and I can’t wait to see what the next month holds!

Before I arrived, I didn’t know exactly what to expect – I said that I was flexible, and just wanted to be utilized wherever they needed me. Well, the first thing I learned is that if you say you are willing to be flexible, you had better be prepared for anything! I found out a few days before I arrived here that I would be teaching math and science classes to first through third graders. Though I’ve had some classroom experience (as a teacher’s assistant and tutor), I’ve never actually taught anything in my life. I had anticipated working with a few of the children who have speech and language challenges (my undergraduate degree is in communication disorders), but it turns out they needed a full-time teacher instead. So my mornings are spent teaching, and I get a “break” in the afternoon for speech therapy sessions. I can’t say that I haven’t been utilized, that’s for sure!

The first week of teaching was extremely challenging. It took me a bit of time to get the rhythm of things, but the teachers (and the students!) were very patient with me and answered my millions of questions (wait, there’s a homework notebook AND a class notebook?? What am I supposed to teach them about science again? Where is [every classroom object you can imagine]?). A few helpful hints from the other teachers and a lot of trial and error… and I still fail a lot. But we work through it, and I think they might actually be learning something. :)

I live with a host family here in Siguatepeque, and it’s been a huge blessing to have a “family” to come home to at the end of the day. They make me delicious food and talk to me really quickly… but I’m learning. With my semi-limited Spanish abilities (which are slowly but steadily improving), I spend a substantial amount of time being confused about what’s going on. More often than not, they tell me we’re going out and I have no idea where we’re going or when we’ll be back. Sometimes it’s just a walk to the pulpería down the street, sometimes it’s an all-day trip to an aunt’s house, and one time we were doing errands all over town for a few hours. It’s wonderful – I’m letting go of my need to be in control of everything, I’m learning to trust people, and I’m a great source of entertainment for my family as they watch the lightbulb go on when I finally figure out what’s happening. :)