Here’s the story of what happened this week: It’s Wednesday, right? Okay, I’ve had three conversations about a potential volunteer position in the school system, rode my living room chair during an earthquake, been invited to an Expate Conversational Spanish Coffee Clutch, gone to the Central Market in Heredia with a new friend for an incredible lunch, and walked up the hill home from Santa Barbara twice! I can now step out of my slacks at the end of the day without unzipping them! WooHoo!!
I was told by The Women’s Club that there was an opportunity to assist English Teachers at the preschool level by having scripted conversations with their students.
When I went to meet the man who oversees English Teaching in the province of Heredia, he told me that the volunteer position entailed actually teaching English to first graders and following them through sixth grade. No syllabus, no rules… just go and play for an hour with a class of four students. What he meant was that I needed to create the class goals and assignments, plus the plans for each class, on my own, but that I had total latitude about how I wanted to approach the task. He would be willing to help, if I needed it.
This gentleman is a very persuasive and enthusiastic individual. I told him that his idea was different than that given to me originally and that it sounded intriguing but that I’d have to think about it. I asked about supporting tools, books, flash cards, etc. He gave me a couple of procedural handbooks to read and we made an appointment to meet this morning to go out to the school and meet the principal and the English teacher (who he told me he’s not to happy about) along with the woman who referred me from The Women’s Club.
After the earthquake yesterday Senor called to see if I was alright and how I was feeling about the opportunity to teach. I told him that I was not feeling that I had the experience or willingness to be the volunteer he needed for this project. That I was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work it would entail to do the job correctly for the kids.
Last night he texted saying I was going to love the kids and I’d be a great addition to their experience with English. I replied that I remained concerned about my ability to be as effective as his need for this volunteer position, and that perhaps it would be better to consider me for other options that weren’t so difficult from my perspective.
So, we met this morning and now I’m his personal assistant for 2 mornings a week in his office instead of the teacher he was most insistent I should be. Whew, you might ask… how the heck did that happen? Well, he wants me to go with him to proctor English teachers and give him feedback on their ability to connect with the children and to determine how well they understand the language itself. Also, since I’m proficient on the computer, to do research for him on the web and whatever else he comes up with that’s office assistant related.
So, there you have it. It’s only Wednesday and now I have a volunteer job with the School District. Jeesh. And the woman from The Women’s Club offered to have me join a discussion group she’s been going to for the past 12 years where Expates speak Spanish over coffee once a week. I have to learn basic conversational Spanish before I go, so that’ll happen in a couple of months.
So, it all turned out great! I’m happy! And I’ve made sure to have my afternoons available for babysitting cuz that’s my primary goal here.
I just have to add that I found myself coming up to the property after my uphill trek this morning, realizing that I’ve become one of the seniors that simply stroll for the unabashed pleasure of it…. because I can. I’ve slowed down so much that I’m shocking myself. I am totally into the not doing much of anything mode.