On Thursday, July 11…
I am coming to the end of my fourth week here in Ecuador. I traveled from Quito to San Pedro de Suma this past weekend and started new work here on Monday. At the school in Quito, I was mostly observing existing English classes and assisting the teachers there. Here in Suma, I am teaching my own English classes. They made me a schedule this week that I will follow for the next four weeks. I go back and forth from the high school and elementary school each day. They are only about a 5-minute walk away and are the only two schools in the town. Classes go from 7 am to 1 pm. This week I have had the afternoons off to lesson plan and acclimate to life here. The municipality of the town where I am living wants some help with computers so starting next week I will most likely be working with them in the afternoons.
I am living with a family in Suma that has two young children. It has been fun to be more part of the family here. I generally play with the kids in the evenings, which helps with being on my own here. The host mom is a great cook and has been excited for me to try all the traditional dishes here. I am living on the main street in the town of about 1,500 people.
So far the teaching has been challenging, but I am glad to have more responsibilities than I did at the school in Quito. I am glad I spent some time assisting the teachers in Quito before arriving here, but still feel pretty thrown into things. For most of the classes, I was given no curriculum or instructions other than to "teach them English." I have 10 different grade levels to teach with students ranging from ages four to 17. I spent the first part of most classes trying to gauge the level of the students and then proceeding from there. Some of the classes have workbooks that are at the right level (generally the younger ones), but for some classes, the workbook is far more advanced than the level of English the students understand. The difference between the level of English of the students here versus in Quito is striking. In Quito, the students were at a much higher level. I generally have classes for an hour and twenty minutes with a grade level so need to be creative with my lessons to keep them engaged and teach them some of the foundations of English. I am grateful the house where I am living has WiFi so I can research strategies for teaching English in the afternoons.
I feel more a part of the community here than I did in Quito, so that has been good. It also is safer in this town than in Quito, so I am a little more relaxed. I am also learning about all the different types of bananas because that is the main economic activity of the town.