Work in Progress: Going with the Flow

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Here's a video, bloopers included, of Laisa and Luis' first class as they learn to speak and read English. They were really fun to work with and kept a very light hearted approach, as you can tell!

Today I walked to Semillero and was greeted by the usual energy and enthusiasm that fills the classrooms every day. Esther doesn't work at Semillero as frequently as me, so I was the only person teaching English today.

Though we made and shifted groups of equal knowledge and facility for the private English classes, attendance is not consistent based on family schedules and needs. Thus, between absence and homework, the planned groups gradually disintegrated and evolved into groups of whoever was present and available at the moment and at a similar level of ability. Though of course this makes for a bit more disorganization, if I have learned one thing from this experience it is that flexibility is the only way to work with the 30-50 different kids that filter through Semillero every week. So while I would have preferred to have consistent pairs who shared the same lessons and progress, I have realized that the most efficient use of time is to work with what we've got at the moment. The motto from here on out, go with the flow! There is no room for perfectionism in an ever-changing environment like this one.

So today, I worked with the kids who were present and available for classes. That meant I got to about 6 more kids today, in addition to the 14 Esther and I worked with at the end of last week. The list of kids keeps growing as I discover new faces filtering in every day! But, to the best of my knowledge, I have 10 more kids that have yet to receive their first private class.

Today the lessons were very productive! Some kids were even having conversations, very slow and disjointed, but nonetheless conversations, with their learned set of phrases. So far the most useful tool I've discovered is the gift of phonetic spelling. Using only the English spelling of words is not useful unless accompanied by a phonetic spelling that they can sound out. So I've been doing my best to write the phrases in Spanish, English, and phonetic spelling like, How are you? Jao r llu? Como estas? Of course, this method does not work with the students who are illiterate, but it's very useful for the older, more advanced students. So I will keep plugging along and hopefully get through my last set of first classes tomorrow, which will mostly be with the younger kids. I anticipate this will be more challenging, but I'll try to pare down the lessons to a lower level for them.

And then comes the fun part-- second classes with each student to practice and build on what they learned in the previous class!