Being a Program Director comes with many new experiences and many opportunities for acquiring new skills. The one that has challenged me the most is teaching English in Farito, our community center in Cedro Galan. I don’t come from a strong teaching background; all I had was a semester of being a TA in college to go off of. I teach English Levels 1 and 2, which are some of the bigger classes we have in our community center, El Farito. Level 1 ranges from 80 students to 120 students and Level 2 is usually around 60 students. This was one of the first challenges that presented itself: commanding such an eager, but large group of people and teaching all of them as effectively as possible. I could use the curriculum and stock of resources from past years to figure out the grammar portion of teaching, but making it engaging for everyone was something I had no idea how to tackle.
However challenging it may be on a given day to command the attention of students, it comes with just as many rewarding surprises. It wasn’t until we played Jeopardy in class that the students were unable to contain their desire to participate. Adults coming after a long day of work alongside kids just out of school jumping out of their chairs to share the right answer. That day will always serve as my reminder that without interest in the subject, commanding the respect of so many people is significantly harder. While there will always be the inevitability of structured grammar lessons, throwing in some activities and games makes fun for everyone. Walking down Farito road after class, one of my students even took the time to tell me how much she enjoyed days like that because everyone left class with a smile on their faces. I know I can’t be friends with all of my students, but if I can make their experience learning English even slightly more positive, I’ve achieved my goal as a newly minted teacher.