Map of the Americas

Map of the Americas
We are using this map to find our way home. We will be marking where we are in big fat red marker like Indiana Jones. (map idea courtesy of Blake Golden)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

El Centro de Muchacho Trabajador

Wow! It’s been a while. Okay, so as has been my life for the past two months, things continue to change. I finished my training at the Red Cross, and at the end they give us all a test that we have to make an 80% on. By “all” I mean about 22 Ecuadorians and 1 gringo (me). I look at the test, thinking and hoping it would be multiple choice, and see nothing but questions and lines. Lots of lines. Turns out every question had to be answered with three to four sentences, and there were like twenty questions!!! So needless to say, I was the ADHD kid who stayed much later finishing the exam than everyone else. I passed, and then went to get my schedule for volunteering, and it turns out I could only work like 5 to 10 hours a week at the Red Cross. Before I did the training they told me I could work a full schedule there after training. I’m not sure why all that happened but it did, and so I changed jobs.

So since last Monday morning, I’ve been a schoolteacher/tutor. Turns out that a place close to my house needs volunteers for teaching street kids (kids that have to work to bring in money for their family generally selling candy or polishing shoes). I told them I’d be in Quito for five more weeks, and they said that would be great. Everything is in Spanish and so difficult! Not because of the Spanish, but because teaching has to be the hardest job on the planet. Really, we should all call our old teachers and thank them. Anyway, I have a class in the mornings on Tuesday/Thursday/Friday, I help with classes in the mornings on Monday/Wednesday, but my favorite part is the tutoring every afternoon. I work with a teacher for a class of about six. Turns out these six are the “special” class. Special meaning they’ve never had education. They range from 9 to 12 years in age. Let me give you an example of what I taught yesterday. This one child Derio, age 12, can add very well. I was quite impressed, seeing how I’m teaching the rest to add. So I try to teach him to add bigger numbers like 167 + 573. I find out he can add them after I teach him to carry tens and all, but he can’t name them. So then I tell him to write the numbers from 0 to 100 in order and he can’t do it. This kid has learned to add because he has been on the street selling candy, but no one taught him how to count. It was shocking. I mean how foreign must addition be if you don’t know that the numbers go in order. Talk about doing blindly what you’re told. Anyway, it’s been great. I’m mainly teaching reading, writing, addition and subtraction. I have to throw this plug in, my hat is off to my sister who teaches special education and somehow loves it. I mean I enjoy what I’m doing, but I know there is no way I would have the patience to do this full time. Not a chance. I always realized how smart teachers had to be, in the sense of being able to see where all their students were, and somehow getting them all to the same level. But I never realized until now how enthusiastic and patient teachers have to be. God Bless them.

Blog Points:

1. I went to a crazy Latino rock concert the other night. There were mosh pits with people swinging, but the best part was the drummer, who was the same drummer from the Tenacious D movie but without horns. He was bald but with a long mullet, sported a Motorhead shirt for five minutes until he took it off, sweet MegaDeath leather pants, and ran and jumped off the stage swinging at his fans during one of the moshes. No joke.
2. So my friend Naomi broke her arm. She was in a village at the time, and there were no doctors, so thankfully this guy saw her and offered to set her arm until she went to the hospital. In retrospect, the doctor said it was a good job. So two questions…what did he use to set the arm? And how much did he charge? Popsicle sticks and $3.
3. The trolley that I use on a daily basis, plays Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer on a daily basis.


Eva said...

Wow, that's crazy! It's amazing how much we take for-granted out structured education system and our under-paid teachers.
Keep up being awesome and continuing to perservere by always being in the middle of saving the world ;)

Meredith Latimer said...

I am so excited that you are learning the joys of teaching. It's amazing how sometimes you think you can actually see the lightbulb come on over their heads!