Week 4 and teaching begins..
Trip Start Nov 08, 2004
55Trip End Nov 08, 2005
On day two more new people turned up as did many of the original 120.....so now we have a massive waiting list
Apart from the fact that each child has about 4 un-pronounceable names, (and in my class there was a boy called Jesus!)The main problem we have is discipline. We know that in both state and private schools here it is accepted that children will not sit and listen to you in a lesson - apparently teachers just carry on regardless of the kids messing about. Well the kids in Jason's classes got a shock I can tell you! Often as I walk by his classroom there will be at least one child outside and I hear shouts of "outside for 5 minutes, now! Come back when you can behave yourself!" He is great at the discipline thing, though yesterday he said he found a boy trying to break the leg of a chair ready for some unsuspecting child to sit on....
My classes are a different story.... I started out concentrating on the English part as that's what I am used to. I am gradually learning about discipline (I don't have much choice!) and have been issuing a few threats recently, but I think they already see me as a soft touch
My teenage class can be trying, but I now know I can always win them over with lessons where they get to listen to English music and fill in the gaps. Teaching the adults is great; I have never had a class so keen to learn. They too love music and last week we did a lesson on the Beatles, watching a group of Ecuadorians singing their hearts out to "Penny Lane" was a classic moment.
Environmental awareness is surprisingly not high here, although tours around the islands are carefully controlled and the guides are highly educated in conservation
Recently there have been some American volunteer vets attempting to educate the population about training dogs and neutering them. Jason took his 7-10īs to a dog training class to watch, but in true Ecuadorian fashion the woman who was supposed to give them a talk didn't show up. He ended up playing games with them. (See photos) I decided to let the vets bring a dog into my class of teenagers and show a video about looking after dogs and what to do if "attacked" by a stray dog. I meticulously drilled my class of teenagers before hand with vocab from the video, they clearly thought I was mad running round the classroom miming the verb "to sniff" and "to wag ones tail", but it was all to become clear when I showed the video. However when I came to press "play" the video was no-where to be found
Walking around town these days without seeing your students is hard. Wherever I go, day or night, there are always shouts of "teacher teacher". When you become a teacher here you lose your name, you are just "teacher" for ever after. I noticed even a restaurant owner has started calling me "teacher" the other day.
In the last few weeks we have been really getting to know people - both other volunteers working for different organisations and locals. The volunteers are a close knit community and we socialise a lot together. Our terrace has become the hot spot for parties and we even have even started having Salsa classes there. (To save the sheer embarrassment of trying to dance next to the locals..) There are 2 bars in the town; the main one is aptly named "Iguana Rock", though they don't play much else but Ecuador's version of pop and salsa. Gossip is rife on this island and people know what's going on in your life before you do
Other forms of evening entertainment here include the "Karaoke truck", which can be spotted on Saturday nights pulling up outside peopleīs houses. The little man has speakers in the back and invites each member of the family in turn to come up and sing a song. Then he moves on to the next house round the corner... what a cool idea!
We are getting used to the oddities of living on San Cristobal... for example almost every week the island runs out of something. This week it's gas, last week it was potatoes, eggs and milk. Yesterday we saw dozens of people waiting for hours on the street with their empty gas bottles to be first in the queue for the new gas when it arrived
I never thought I would be excited at the sight of a can of diet coke in a shop but often the simplest things you would take for granted anywhere else are a novelty here. These things just make for comical interludes in an otherwise fantastic life. Being careful not to trip over the ever-present sleeping sea-lions at night (if you get too close they can bite), as I walk along the sandy path between home and work will not be something I forget in a hurry. (Great excuse for being late though!) We feel very lucky to be here.