Teachin students, gettin paid…

in experience. looooots of experience.

Within the past two weeks I’ve taken over three sections of the 4th Form (senior) English. My day usually runs like this: get to school, listen to the OLOGians sing their national anthem and school song (it’s quite an acoustic experience), then chill out and do some planning until I teach. Teach, teach, lunch (sometimes not in that order), teach. Chill out in the staff room and do some more planning, then go home. It is probably the least stressful schedule I will ever have as a teacher because I only have one prep. And you know, I’m getting to be ok with that. It’s nice to take it easy and enjoy the Belizean sunshine and breeze from time to time and also learn some kiddos while I’m at it.

That, however, does not mean the kiddos don’t give me some grief. You can say we’re having some power struggles in the classroom. Since I’m a pretty self-centered person and like having all the attention on me while I’m teaching, I don’t really stand for oh, you know, students outright TALKING while I am. It ain’t cool. And I definitely don’t stand for students standing up while I’m standing in front of the classroom. In all honesty though, they’re quite outstanding people.

The best thing about the kids is that they are totally willing to answer questions during class (sometimes I had to twist the hairs on the heads of my kids at Loveland to even get them to mumble…). However, raising your hand to speak is not a ‘thing’ here like it is in the states. Also a problem.

I am teaching mostly writing here, per request of my teacher. This is a dream come true. I get to focus on writing and language for all of my classes! This week I’ve embraced it and had the kids teach me some creole phrases. “Wey yu deh ban” (may be a bit misspelled) means, “what do you wanna do?” I also created a lesson (with the help of my writing methods prof Dr. Romano) on how to combine sentences using various methods of punctuation and sentence manipulation. The students had to, as a class, manipulate the sentences on the board to combine them so that the statement was more sophisticated. It’s how I teach syntax and punctuation, as well as usage and style. No silly ‘grammar exercises’ out of a workbook for me!  I assigned the first writing assignment today (an essay) and we’ll see how they do on their first one for me.

In addition to this, I had them write me introductory letters so I could get to know a bit more about them. I have many talented students! Among football (soccer) players, volleyball players, and musicians, I have math olympiad students, future scientists, and artists. Quite a group. They were very welcoming—some more than others. One student wrote me, “P.S.–I think you’re beautiful :)”

I’m still trying to process that one. TMI? Coming-on-too-strong brown noser? Shameless profession of emotions? You decide.

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