Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Difference A Day Can Make

A quick story from this week:

My class is usually about eight kids of a similar age. The other day I randomly had thirteen kids...ranging in age from 5 to 14... several of which had never come before... five of which were 10 year old boys. Needless to say, it was a challenging day.  I was trying to keep the older kids from getting bored, while keeping the younger kids entertained, while keeping the attention of 10 year old boys who basically just want to run around.  Have I mentioned that I still don't speak Portuguese?  So yeah, it was an adventure and pretty much just one step below chaos.

I left the favela feeling a little defeated. Just as I was about to reach the main street, I heard "Cheecha, cheecha!" (In Portuguese, the letters te are pronounced che so Teacher comes out Cheecha.)  The littlest boy from class that day came running up to me and gave me a piece of candy and hugged me.  Okay, okay, I get it. I need to remember that what they get out of our time together is not necessarily about learning English.  Still, that was only one little boy and I felt like I had let the others down.  I had no idea how to handle the class going forward if it was going to be this large and varied.

The next day, I walked over with slight trepidation and was relieved to find that I had only six students, all around the same age, who I know by name. We had a great class, and in conversation (if you can call it that), one of the little boys asked me when I was leaving.  I told them that next week would be my last and to my complete surprise they all yelled "No!" followed by a lot of Portuguese I didn't understand.  He slowly explained to me that they all like me and want me to stay. Wow. Definitely didn't see that one coming. 

So that's my feel-good story for this week. Kind of corny, I know but it made me smile.

~ N