Thursday, November 17, 2011

At Agape School

 Okay, so I know I failed at writing in this regularly, but I will try and explain what has been happening here these past couple of months. I’ll start with school…

Teaching kindergarten has been interesting. The way they do things is a bit different here. Okay more than a bit. They are allowed to hit the kids with rulers for one thing, and the kids are allowed to get up and use the “comfort room” as many times as they want. There is a hygiene poster in the room, but they all drink out of the same water cup and do not wash their hands after using the bathroom.

 The school is supposed to be an English speaking school, and I’m there so that the kids will learn English. Each class has a Filipino teacher and an English-speaking one. The teacher I work with is Cecile. When I first met her she told me she is sometimes “lazy to teach,” but she’s really good at keeping the kids under control. So yeah, they have one or two lessons a day, along with playtime, naptime, snack time, and coloring time. I always start the day with a prayer, then we sing and I read them a story which they may or may not understand.

On our first day of teaching we were supposed to have a meeting with the principle, where I thought they would explain what we are supposed to be doing, but she was busy.. so we were just kind of thrown into it. I mostly observed the first day, and tried to understand their routine.

The first week was kind of crazy because Cecile would go on her breaks and I was left alone with the students, which was a little difficult at first. Just imagine for a moment being in charge of a class full of hyper students who know no English. They ask you questions you cannot answer and look at you with a really confused face when you try to explain things. And to make it even easier you have to try and teach them stuff like math. I eventually became more familiar with the students and the routine. I began to figure out the whole discipline thing. Time outs work pretty well, and if nothing else, I can just slam stuff on the desk or pick up a ruler or give them a warning.

 I’ve started to pick up on certain words and I find myself understanding more and more of what’s going on. The kids have really grown on me- even the naughty ones. It is humbling to work in a class that is so small, with kids that have so little. They get really excited over little gifts like stickers or erasers. Most of them don’t even have their own pencils. The classroom would be considered too dirty to use in the States. The kids don’t care though, they love it. They are always so happy and seem pretty content. I guess that goes to show you don’t need to have a lot to be happy! It is kind of crazy to think about how in Minnesota- where it’s only warm like 3 weeks of the school year- we have air conditioning. And they don’t have that here, where it’s super hot almost every school day.

So anyways, I love the kids in my class and teaching has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot about the culture by watching the kids play and interact with each other. I’ve also started teaching quiet game time for the older grades, which has gone really well so far. I’m very thankful for this experience, even on days when I too, am “lazy to teach.” It’s great that all these kids can go to a Christian school and learn about the gospel, and I pray they will remember all they’ve seen and heard about Jesus.

Some of my students coloring :)

We had three special visitors- the one on the right used to teach at Agape

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