Progress in the Classroom!!!

Many of you have read about my previous struggles in the public schools, in the blog post titled, “My Nica Struggle.” That was a few weeks ago, and in such little time, such progress has been made.

After coming back from vacation, the students welcomed each other back with open arms and welcomed me back by embracing me with hugs and lots of laughter. I’ve been here for a month and a half, but it is amazing to see how much love I have for these kids already. We all sat down and they were eager to be informed about the new topics to be discussed and the games to be played.

Every week, we play a game called “Change Seats,” where the students have to run around the classroom like free birds, and rush to another seat, leaving one student left to answer the question. While normally this would give the kids anxiety, and they’d feel the need to bombard their classmates so as to not be the one in the hot seat, this week it was really different. Rather than running to the seats around the classroom, the kids would rush to the seat in the middle of the classroom, wanting to showoff all that which they’ve learned. Even though arguments started because some kids didn’t want to take turns sharing the seats, both my counterpart and I were thoroughly impressed and moved by their excitement and enthusiasm.

Since that day my counterpart and I have discussed ways to make the class better, and our communication skills have been steadily improving. It saddens me that I will be leaving in a few weeks, and that I don’t know how the dynamic of the classroom will change, so I’ve been starting to do a little bit of underground work. The children expect the lesson part of the period from their professor, and the game part of the period from me. Lately, I have been thoroughly informing my counterpart of the games, so that he knows all of the rules and helps to direct these games, and I have been offering my services to instruct the lesson portion of the class. I want the students to see their teacher as both a fun guy who loves playing games with them, and a stern teacher who doesn’t mind laying out the rules of grammar. I don’t think my counterpart has noticed the way his relationship with the children has changed, but I see it everyday. They are beginning to admire and respect him more by coming to his class on time, and not leaving the classroom every five minutes to “go to the restroom”. My counterpart calls his students his “babies,” and occasionally they accidentally call him their father. This is such an exciting part of my journey thus far, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the outcome!

Tiarra Riggins ’17