Day 1: Thrown into the Lions Den
Dear lord. The only thing more frightening than standing in front of 25 anxious 4th graders with nothing what-so-ever prepared is maybe... scratch that. There is NOTHING more frightening than standing in front of 25 anxious 4th graders with nothing what-so-ever prepared. Lesson of the day: Color (more specifically, "I See (insert name of color here)). So, what did I decide to do? Point at things. Yep. I spent 20 minutes pointing at colors and having the kids say "I see" and then the color that I was pointing at. What was going through my mind? "Okay 20 minutes down, 30 to go... what now?" Stroke of genius! "Everyone take out a piece of paper! (blank stares) Um... paper?" I point to a piece of lined paper, girl sitting in front says something in Laotian and they all take out a piece of paper, phew. I proceed to have them write the names of all the colors and then we draw pictures of objects that are that specific color. Or if you are a 9 year old boy, you take the crayon and do whatever the heck you want with it. Like draw a picture of a spider playing soccer. The best part of the morning class was the last 10 minutes in which we sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." So cute!
|Boys at Primary School|
|Level 2 (2nd hour)|
After it was over, I was probably the most exhausted I'd been in a very long time. But the feeling I had after teaching and the response I received from my students after class "Thank you, teacher!" was enough to make the whole experience worth while.
Day 2 and 3 were fairly similar to the first day. The lessons were equally challenging and my class periods never really went exactly as I had planned them but they always seemed to finish on a relatively positive note.
Day 3 was my last day teaching at the primary school so I waved goodbye to my students and sang one last round of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" before I went back to the farm.
My final day teaching for the evening classes was a bit more difficult. With the primary school children I saw a different group everyday but the evening class students were the same for all four days. I was just beginning to get to know the students when I had to leave. It was a review day so luckily it was an easy lesson. After the first hour with the beginners I got a high five or a handshake from each of the students as we said goodbye. The second hour was also review and was probably the most engaging lesson I taught during my time there. Students were asking questions and I could tell they were really trying to learn what I was teaching. At then end I taught them what "What's up" means in the U.S. and we talked about how bad I was at speaking Laotian (really bad by the way, just awful).
It was a great way to end my time volunteering and although I would have liked to spend another week getting to know the students and teaching, it is time to move on. So, south I go feeling all sorts of accomplished.
I think this was exactly what I needed to get myself back in the right mind-set. My time traveling shouldn't be spent focusing on the negative (like how horrible I think the tubing industry in Vang Vieng is) but on the positive experiences.
I'm also leaving the farm with a new goal: WWOOFing. (I can do it in Uganda!)