During breakfast, Barbara read her Monday entry in the journal, followed by the team’s impressions about their 2nd day on the job. We reported back a variety of experiences, as our students range from very young pupils struggling to learn a few simple words, to older teens very able to discuss sophisticated subjects in perfect English, to senior adults.
From Ruth & Ann: Their “great day” included participating in discussions with students on a university track topics ranging from corporate slavery to child labor laws to the impact of the media on children.
John and Lynn once again worked with 4 classes of 6th to 9th graders and were of special assistance to one teacher who was still incapacitated due to recent dental work.
Barbara and Judy experienced a “double-period” with a group of students in a “vocational track” and found that a lively game of Hangman got an enthusiastic response. Their three other classes of 6th and 8th graders seemed to be typical junior high kids whom they met for the first time on Tuesday. Talk in English ranged from soccer to American TV and the Golden Gate Bridge to winters in Michigan.
Noreen and David reported that their day in the schools was quite good. They experienced the greatest age range of students in our group, from 11th graders studying genetic modification in perfect English down to exhausted little 6-year- olds whose English class comes at the end of a very long school day.
We then set out on a cool, damp, foggy morning for another day of volunteering in the Beja English instruction program. Several of us faced the immediate challenge of finding our schools without the guidance of our fearless leader, achieving various degrees of success in mastering the cobblestone streets that led to our destinations.
After our work day, everyone in classroom situations reported having observed a great variety of teaching styles and classroom control, and our contributions are not immediately evident. Karen added a totally different perspective to the mix. She had the opportunity to work one-on-one with senior adults throughout the day, which went late into the afternoon, and also tutored Joaquin, who is improving his English skills by reading from a book about the Kennedy assassination.
We had our second Portuguese lesson from Joaquin Mosca. Fortunately our young students are much more proficient in English than we will ever be in Portuguese. Joaquin also entertained us with threeFado -Portuguesenational songs of “destiny.”
The group left the evening meeting tired from a day with both challenges and rewards but not too exhausted to enjoy another hearty dinner at a nearby restaurant, complete with typical local fare and great camaraderie.
“He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Mormon Church until his death in 2008.