Club Vocacional has turned out to be how I thought SKIP would always be. Fun, games, non-formal educational activities and teaching the kids how to swim!! Plus there was a big change round of teachers as we usually have 9 groups of primary but for holiday club there are less families involved and therefore less groups, only 5, but bigger groups than normal.
And, the best bit a of news I have is…I got promoted! This next bit is all about before CV! So I used to be an assistant, I had assisted 4 teachers up until CV. The first teacher I worked alongside with was M, who was a nursery teacher and had it all under her belt and I felt very useless while assisting her! But I learnt a lot from her, probably the most, and got to know the kids really well in the month she was volunteering at SKIP. She was so great that in less than a month she had gotten to know the kids like the back of her hand and had written a word document describing each child and where they were at with each subject and how they worked best, what there strenghts and weakness were, everything improtant!
Next I was assisting A, from Urguay, she was lovely but had never taught before and although she had a daughter of her own, she had trouble controling our group of 12 young children from 7 to 8 years old. Plus there was a language barrier between us, so I couldnt really help her while in the classroom, but I was itching to help her and share the ideas I had from M’s teaching that worked so well.
So A’s and myself had many a meeting with the primary coordinater, with a translater usually to help so I could share my ideas and to share my knowledge about the kids. She took this advise very well and our classes improved with regular meetings between us, plus she was good at thinking of new and creative ways of learning so it worked out teaching with her but she was only here for a month also.
So before I knew it I was working with C, a young university student from Trujillo, and a part time model. C had come to volunteer as part of her university course and had very little teaching experiance too, as well as a very peruvian appoach to teaching. Teaching with her at first was fairly difficult. She would do things that were obviously not encouraged in any way shape or form at SKIP with no idea why we would discourage it. And by this time my Spanish was improving so I could communicate to her during the lessons what I though was going wrong and what might work, but she rarely took my advise and the lessons kept being shit. I would constantly be suggesting different teaching methods or asking her to not use her white stick she had found to whack the table to get them all to be quiet. We had barely any control and the kids weren’t learning anything, or if they were it would be one child at a time learning. As the weeks went on more problems surfaced and many more meetings were had. I was, with agreement, given more than half the work load, previuosly the teachers I worked along side with prepared it all. But with Carolina the work loads seemed to be too much for her, and she’d only ever plan one activity each class when all the children were working at different levels. She clamed she had read the word document with the descriptions of all the children, but was only coming up with very simple worksheets, that she had found on the interent, and it just wasn’t good work for the kids. Lessons would over run, or under run, the kids would go crazy in all the dead time we had and we had no way of dicipling them, lots of children can’t read or write but she didn’t keep that in mind, and the older ones would finish in 5 minutes and that’s not an exaggeration!
Or at times she would only have one activity planned and just be teaching the younger ones how to do it and leaving the others to run wild around the class. So I then prepared the maths work and also the work for one child with learning disabilities. At first it was hard but it was a lot better than having Carolina sort all the work. So her lessons still went over and still she would only prepare one thing for all, but at least half the work met the abilities of the children. It is a great challenge having so many abilities in one class.
So after all this palavor I had a lovely conversation with the primary coordinator in which she explained that my spanish had improved so much in the past months and how she thought it would be best if I took the class from now on with an assistant of my own, either for the holiday club or for after when we started back at regular SKIP. I was a bit overwhelmed and didn’t think my Spanish was perfect for teaching but I’d had enough of being frustrated, but I said I’d think about it. For CV I was teaching alongside F, the fabulous English Coordinator, who is training to be a teacher and had great classroom behaviour control skills and J, another of the Trujillanan chicas doing their uni course! So teaching with F was great, lesson plans were quick and easy to think of. Thank god for the internet, so many amazing resources and fun learning activities up there! I introduced a bit of science, got them all growing their own plant, and watering it every day. I time table was different to normal, everyone had Enlgish everyday, plus valores (morals). We had a class of 22 but it was great to always have a big group and made group activities easy, and we had some new children, and everyone in our group was pretty smart and everyone through CV said our group were the best. YES!
Teaching with J was also okay, when we were teaching togther those were the days of comunicacion, sport, art, music and english, so J would plan the comunicacion part and then we’d just keep the kids calm as we went to and from each different class. The problem for CV the curriculm for comunicacion was to watch short videos with a different theme each week. J and myself had very different ideas on how to take on a theme and so many times she’d pick a video that was a bit to factual and boring for the children. But the main thing that spoilt our time teaching was that the internet at SKIP doesn’t really work. Every morning before we started we would turn on the computer and start loading the videa. 20 minutes later after the children had read, the video would have only loaded 2 minutes, and when played would keep stopping and was very blurry. Along with this the reflection of the windows meant the video could hardly been seen, playing or not. This lead the kids to get very wiggly and restless and would usually result in us going back to the classroom and doing some drawing or something.
But the themes for everything else worked very well, it was fun to have a different topic every week, kept the ball rolling and kept everyone enthusicatic. The way it was ran the whole time was a lot more relaxed and we could add topics and things onto the curriculm if we wanted, and we bounced off each others ideas a lot and had a lot of sharing activities going on, unlike usual. The music lessons were classic. Ran by my favorite Italian who is actually a grandpa at heart and very pernikity about his routine, the classes were hilarious. These classes included education about recycling and reusing and using recycled goods to play music. The kids got it, but as soon as they were given a bottle/rubbish to play from the volunteer house bin, they made so much noise as soon as given them it was impossoble to do anything. Over this the Italian would be screaming over them and shouting “ay” again and again, trying to get them to calm down and stop making noise, much to my amusement! At first I just sat there and laughed as the kids were just no way ever going to listen. This went on the whole time, it got slightly better towards the end of CV but only so much that they were then all making noise that started at the same time! But it was great fun, and some guitars were brought in for the last few classes and private concerts given! Plus I taught some girls in my class how to head bang. That was well good!
Along with music we also went to the local outdoor swimming pool each friday morning for 3 hours. Many of the children had never been to a swimming pool and all of them did not know how to swim, so learning how to must have been nerve racking but they all loved it. This is the swimming pool I blogged about a while back, and it is lovely. But as we were with the primary children we went into the shallower pool, which goes up to your waist and is long and thin. At first it was riduculous, a million volunteers sat by the side watching out for drowners while only 4 people were in the pool teaching swimming or faciclitaing games in the water. But obviously you can never have too many volunteers looking out for people struggling, especially as some of our kids are so boystrous and wouldnt think twice about pushing their Friends head under the water. And in addition being in the pool for the 3 hours was nothing to be jealous of as the water was freezing, at 9am! As the mornings would go on the sun would come out and heat us up a bit but by the end of the 3 hours everyone ould be shivering and with wrinkly feet! There was some definate injustice going on though, with there being 2 shallow pools right next to each other. one of them for us that the local swimming pool had very kindly let us use for free, 3 hours every Friday for primary and 3 hours every Monday morning for secondary. But the other pool had paid lessons going on in it, that I do beleive were only 1 sol per a class anyway, but thats the extent of the families we work withs poverty. But the clearness of the water was evident beyond belief. Our side was murky water, that hadnt been emptied for a while, and there was no way in the 6 weeks we could ever see the bottom. And the residents of El Porvenir that were that slight bit richer had a pool with crystal clear water, every week, without fault. And the kids did notice and it was embarrasing to answer them. Heres a link to another volunteers blog which is amazing, and written in a completely different style, more sofisticated! But she writes perfectly about being a gringa living in peru, and about the swimming pool injusticies! Check it out here!
In the classroom we introduced new behaviour management stratagies where we would draw a thermometre on the board and the temperature would rise as the noise volume rose, although our class were the best behaved we still had probems with the noise level and having to shout! This worked really well as it taught them to work as a team, and they could see it slowly rising up and up, and when it got to the top they would lose their half and hour play time, or be kept back to be told off! And thankfully this only hapened a couple of times and each time the whole class would be dead silent the whole time and their Little faces were so serious! They definately did not like missing their patio time!
So by the end of the 6 weeks everyone was positively shattered, with a rotaing and bimonthly curriculm and having to teach everyday was tiring! So the last day we had a party for the whole of primary, this was after a trip to the beach! (It was amazing to be able to take some kids to the beach for the first time ever, and the mothers were sooo afraid of letting thier kids go for a whole day, and before we set off were constantly grabbing our arms and asking us to have our eyes on their kids all the time so they wouldnt drown!) This was held in the patio where they have play time, and we made a tunnel of arms for the people who were graduating to secondary to run through. Afterwards everyone got a certificate and given a balloon twisted into an animal, Minerva managed to make about 100! And then the faces paints came out and all the kids wanted one, so we started on the long process of painting everyones face with very por quality materials and so it was hard not to laugh at their faces in the end! And then the food and drink came out. The kids stayed at a distance as it was al being bought out and layed in the table. And the rules were then explained many times that they were t come up one by one and collect a reasonable amount of food and sit down. Before we knew it the table was surrounded by a swarm of children and it was literally survival of the fittest. Kids were scooping food off the tables with their arms and collecting it in their t shirts, their bags, any place they could find. Some were running around finding plastic bags to load…and while this was going on they were cramming it into their mouths, crumbs crumbling out and the floor was a carpet of biscuits and crackers, lollys, and crisps! It was a true beauty to see and made us all laugh a lot.
After the food frenzie we had a dance, managed to borrow C’s bass speakers to blast out the pop songs of Peru…the kids loved it and the girls so young dance so sexily it’s kinda scary! And that was the end of CV. And the kids even helped clean up, sweeping and collecting the ridiculous amount of rubbish and food on the floor! And that was the end of CV, a tiring, creative and SUPER FUN!