12/11/2013 - 15/11/2013 35 °C
Sorry for the late post. Internet is not such a reliable commodity here in Vietnam, especially when out on the road.
So I began teaching this week and it was a great start. I have a regular class I will be working with for the next five weeks, twice a week. My group of around 15 varies in ages but all are of the similar basic level, the youngest member I have is 13 years old, majority of the class are around 16 years old and the oldest is 25 years old. The shelter is run by this organisation- http://www.poussieresdevie.org/ and offers opportunities for street children. The specific project is found here: http://www.poussieresdevie.org/project/tu-xuong-pointcom. As the link show these students are unable to afford to attend school and get an education and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The volunteers are helping to provide basic skills for the students for a few hours a day on top of their normal working hours. I felt like it would be too intrusive to get any photos in these initial lessons, but will get some over the coming weeks to show you.
To give an idea of their level, the first lesson we spent learning dinner items and asking the question "do you like carrots?" and replying "No, I don't" or "Yes, I do". The students are of such a level where I can deliver a lesson all in English without a Vietnamese translator which makes it much easier.
The students are very enthusiastic about what you are teaching them and they are all very friendly. They are a delight to work with.
I am working with this group twice a week for the next 5 weeks so I should see great improvements.
On friday morning, a group of volunteers visit Primary School level children at a shelter for disadvantaged children, again those who cannot afford the regular Vietnamese Education System. A stage below a public school.
These classes are a different story. The three classes are at different levels. The highest class (grade 5) is around 13 and 14 year olds who have got the basics learnt such as "Hello, My name is Breanna and my birthday is on the ..." However these classes are taught by two volunteers and assisted by a Vietnamese speaker to translate all of the instructions. This is the highest class, the grade 4 class is a handful. All around 12 years old, this class is packed with 40 students who mostly can remember next to nothing in English. So as you can imagine it is very repetitive and there a huge emphasis on making sure they can speak it as well as reading and writing.
After managing to contain this session, there is one more lesson with the grade 3 class and they are very gorgeous. They all sit at their desks obediently, copying everything that you write down on the blackboard into their books. If only what they were writing would turn into words they could remember to speak. At least, we will be able to measure an improvement in the coming weeks.
These photos are of the front of the school as they children are heading home. You can see them getting their hair cut in one of the pictures. A service the shelter provides for the students.
In general, I honestly look at the students and think they are about 4 or 5 years younger than they are. The 11 year olds look about 6 or 7, they are so small and short. But they are very cute.
The other volunteers and myself are in the middle of organising a interactive activity session at the friday shelter for this coming saturday. We have also been invited to a Teachers Day event on Wednesday, it is almost like a public holiday where students attend a special day at school simply to recognise their teachers. So I am not sure what this is going to involve.
I will try to find a wifi connection this afternoon to get my weekend trip to DaLat up