Saturday, October 20, 2007

Newcomer English

Saturday school was not bad at all today.

I got to school with a minute to spare (I forgot to account for weekend train delays). I had just three students. I was hoping for all five but two of the boys have Saturday school at their church--or their mother would have brought them "con mucho gusto," she told me as she dropped off their younger brother who is in Kindergarten. I told the AP that he didn't really need to come. I thought he was doing pretty well in his regular class and was progressing nicely but she said it couldn't hurt. He actually seemed really disoriented during the first part of the morning and probably didn't understand why he was at school on a Saturday without his brothers or classmates. He warmed up though, and so did the other two girls. We had a lot of fun and they were all speaking more than I've ever hear them. (That is repeating after me in English and trying to explain things to me in Spanish, and occasionally attempting to try out some new words or phrases on their own.)

We did my basic first ESL lessons today. A lot of "What is this?" "This is a (insert item you're pointing at)" to get them used to asking and answering about new vocab. We did a lot of TPR (total physical response) to practice things they will often hear their teachers asking them to do in class. We took a tour of the school learning the names of the different rooms (such as library, office, lunch room). You would think that after almost two months of school they would have picked up some of these words but most of the words they didn't know or couldn't produce on their own. Actually the Kindergarten boy knew more then two girls (in second and third grades) did in most cases. He has been in the country about nine months longer than they have and he went to Pre-K at the school for part of last year.

Over all it was a good day and it went by really fast. I was happy with what we were able to accomplish today. It's really unfortunate that my schedule is so full that I don't have a separate time in my schedule for these kids during the regular school day because it is so crucial. I'm glad that I was given the opportunity to teach this Saturday class though.

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