My first week of student teaching here is done! This week has flown by, yet has been extremely long at the same time. I am growing to love my third graders more and more every day, they are so loving and affectionate and teaching them is truly a joy (though there are times they test my patience). They are constantly writing little notes and pictures at the bottoms of their quizzes and homework paper which always makes me smile. It is very different teaching here because there are so many different cultures and types of learners. Only two out the 19 students I have are native English speakers. While this can be a little comical at times (I had a little boy run up to me on the playground and asked me to tell the little girl he was playing with to stop “persecuting” him) This can be a big struggle and I have to constantly remind myself that English is not their first language. This really is a hindrance to them in the areas of reading comprehension, grammar and spelling. Pray for me as I try to figure out how to teach them in the most effective way possible. We read a book on the Statue of Liberty and I had them make their own Statue crowns. They really enjoyed it and proudly wore their crowns throughout the day. It’s funny because I am finding that when they enjoy the lesson, I enjoy teaching, when I feel like they don’t understand or do not like the lesson, I get discouraged. This past Friday after school, my co op had a “boys night” with the boys in the class. She had a sleepover with the girls in the fall so it was time to treat the boys to something special. So we took the six third grade boys after school for a night of bowling, pizza, soccer and a movie at their teacher’s house! There’s only six, should be easy…right?? NOT! Take six nine year old boys, fill them full of soda, candy and pizza and have them throw ten pound balls around….better hide behind something. As crazy as they were, it was a really fun night and they cracked me up the whole time. And I can proudly say that I was the bowling winner! (no one has to know who my competition was….or that we were playing with bumpers…)
It has been great getting to know my host family, they truly treat me like their daughter/sister. One of the reasons they wanted to host a student teacher was so that their children could be around an English speaker and improve themselves. Nubia now carries around a little notebook with all the new words and phrases I say in English that she likes. It’s cool to see their desire to learn. The family’s maid, Sabas, does not speak any English however. I have been using this to practice my Spanish skills on her, lucky girl!!! : ) She just started an English class so she will come to me with help on her homework or questions on pronunciation. I guess you could say we are helping each other! Sabas is a truly sweet girl, but she does not have a relationship with Christ. She has recently started going to church with the Olivers and Nubia has been talking to her a lot about spiritual matters. She has been asking a lot of questions and really seems interested these past few weeks! Pray that she would keep asking questions and taking in interest in Christianity!
This weekend was really fun! Brittany, Brynna (The other student teachers from BBC) and I went out with three of the CCA teachers to a place called Central and Casco Viejo. Central is a market full of locals and little shops. You can find Kuna people walking around selling various items. The Kuna’s are the indigenous people who live in Panama in villages a little ways from the city. Casco Viejo is an old section of Panama that was built by the French when they owned the canal. It was amazing! The architecture and buildings were so cool. It was like a mix of Latin America and Europe. This section is also the place that the Panamanians took their gold to hide it when the pirates attacked. So there were real “pirate gold” jewelry stores and souvenirs. Jack Sparrow would have been in his glory. It is also the place where a Survivor finale took place and being the survivor fan I am…I was in my glory as well. It was one of the sights I really wanted to see when I knew I was coming to Panama so I was really glad we were able to go. I am loving getting to experience this new culture and people!
A few things you can be praying for…
1) I would keep improving in my teaching and strategies so I can grow and teach these students to the best of my abilities.
2) That the unsaved students in my class would be able to see Christ through my life and in the ministry of the school and church. Also that I am able to communicate clearly during Bible class and that they would truly understand.
3) Saba’s salvation and wisdom for Nubia as she is the one who gets to talk with her the most.
Thanks for your prayers and for reading! Hasta Luego!