Georgianna, a Poland Global Volunteer, talks about her first day teaching and learning in Poland.
My beginner English class started by lining up outside the door, where the young students greeted one another, asked how each other were, and introduced the next person in line. The objective is to have them speak, speak, speak, in English. It’s not easy because these beginners seem not to have much experience hearing or speaking the language and they are intimidated, nervous, scared, and certainly not confident. But they are cheerful, willing and very supportive of one another. So we continue to practice speaking English, together and in pairs and even alone, over and over. Going outdoors to explore or to act out Seven Little Monkeys, whatever works, we’ll do it.
My teammate Steve, the man who spent 40 years as an elementary school physical education teacher, continued his “locomotive approach” to teaching a foreign language. He knows that kids learn best when they’re physically engaged, preferably 80% of the time. His purpose is to teach a skill, and then put the skill into practice through a game or them to speak about it.
Sophia, our resident 17-year-old, continues to intuitively lead her students in many, many activities with lots of movement and enthusiasm. They’re speaking English and probably learning many idioms, California style.
A highlight today was meeting the gracious County Governor, Dariusz Stopa, in Siedlce. He welcomed us warmly, and answered about 45-minutes worth of questions on all sorts of topics, ranging from, “How many political parties are there in Poland?” to “When will Poland adopt the Euro?” So much teaching and learning in Poland in such a short time!
Back at Reymontowka, thoughts of the day circle in my mind as I drop off to sleep. Dobre noc.