Today was our 4th day at St. John and our 3rd day working with the kids. We had some car troubles this morning, so all of us had to teach our first class without the teachers. I thought it went pretty well, and everyone else seemed to think we did a pretty good job. We taught the kids how to use Scratch and Etoys to make objects move around to talk to each other, dance, etc. It had been a great experience working with these kids. It is such an eye opening experience and makes you really appreciate how fortunate all of us are. Even though the first night was really difficult and everyone was complaining about how many bugs there was, now that I’ve gotten to work with the kids, it makes getting bit worth it. This experience so far has been great, and I look forward to all that is to come!
Today we taught the eighth grade, 4th grade, and 7th grade. In the 7th and 8th grade we continued working with Scratch and the kids created their own dance with the sprites and also created a scene where two people walk to each other, say something, and then walk back. Although this might seem simple, it is actually very hard to figure out how to script the sprites. After they finished with their two projects the kids went around to all their classmates computers and watched each other’s projects. In the 4th grade we started with Etoys. The students learned how to open a book, add objects, draw, and make scripts! It was a somewhat hectic day in the 4th grade because we planned for a forty minute period, but taught an 80 minute period so we had to plan things on the spot. After school we went to the Trunk Bay beach. The trunk bay beach is beautiful and we swam out to a rock far in the ocean. I really love this experience because we get to work with kids and after school go to the beach!! I really enjoy working with the kids and seeing their faces when they finally understand a concept or get something to work. This experience has really opened up my eyes, and these kids really warm my heart. They are all so willing and excited to learn new things and teaching them makes me feel so good!! I am really glad I came on this trip, and cannot wait for the rest of the time we have here!
It’s hard to believe it’s already our third day of teaching! Days are starting to move a little more quickly, and we’re starting to get a little more of a handle on our mosquito friends, kind of.
This morning we ran into a minor issue: as we all piled into our jeeps, we discovered that my vehicle wouldn’t start. Yup, our battery was totally dead. Now, this was actually a blessing in disguise, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Since the girls teach first period, they all scrambled into the other jeep and headed off to school with Christine. Since our girls are so awesome, Christine was able to drop them off at school, and head to our rental company to get some help. This is where it happens to be a blessing. This jeep actually needed new brake pads. Every time we would brake as we headed down (treacherously) steep hills, we would hear the brake pads screeching. It was not a very comforting sound. So a new jeep was brought to us, and we were able to switch it out, hooray! It was a wonderful switch. We are totally ready to take on those hills again.
Now that we’ve seen all of our classes at least once, the girls can start moving along in their lessons. Today in the 7th and 8th grade classes the kids finished up their Scratch projects, saved their best work to Christine’s flash drives, and got a start on Etoys. The girls are also starting to connect with their students more. They’re making jokes and teasing each other; it’s really fun to watch. When we drive home they gush with stories about their students and what happened during class. They’re reflecting on the lessons, adjusting what needs to be changed, and staying flexible. While they’re teaching, they stay energetic and positive, although they’ve all commented at one time or another how tired teaching makes them. It’s been a bit of an eye-opener for them. They’re doing a really nice job staying enthusiastic and positive.
Our 4th grade class today was definitely an adventure! We normally have them for 40 minutes, but with a substitute there for the class, we offered to stay for a double period (80 min). Whoa, that was intense. By the end of the period, we had lost the attention of quite a few students and had seen some tears from others (unrelated to the teaching, of course). With twenty-five of them in the room, it can get chaotic quickly. We all walked out with deer-in-the-headlights expressions. Still, the girls really love that class. The kids always give them lots of hugs and waves as we come and go.
After teaching we headed to another beach, Trunk Bay. It was beautiful. The water so clear, the sand so white and soft. We all needed that time to ourselves and a relaxing swim. We headed back for another delicious, relatively bug-free meal. I had almost forgotten what it was like to sit outside without having bugs feasting on you; it’s really quite pleasant!