Our help at the School
Lorna and Marty volunteer to teach English at a school a few days every week. They have a large group of different kids each day. One of the ways my family and I helped Lorna and Marty while we were in Capetown was by giving these kids a little lesson of our own.
For the three mornings that we did it, my dad was the main speaker. My mom had previously created a slideshow using some of the photos she’d taken so far of our trip. This was to help give the kids a better understanding of what we were talking about with all of these new places that they may never have heard of, and to make thing a bit more interesting. My dad based his presentation off of the photos. With each one, he would explain where it was taken, what it was, and maybe something unique about it/that place. After he was done with each place, I would say the things I loved most about that place. Throughout the “presentation” he would be asking the kids questions, and it was interesting to hear what they had to say. Here is a little bit about how those three days went.
Our very first day there, I was shivering a little bit. We had gotten out of the car and were waiting for “the man with the keys” to unlock all the doors. I was a little nervous and it was chilly, therefore I was shivering. I had never met these kids (the ones we were meeting were in 6th grade) and it had been a while since I had gotten up in front of a group of people to perform (before this trip I had been involved in several plays and other performing arts activities). I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going to share anything with the group so that also made me a little more nervous. When we got inside, we set up all the chairs then waited for the kids to arrive. Soon they started coming in. Most of them came in groups of two or three; I don’t remember seeing anyone come in on their own. They signed their names on Lorna’s checklist sheet and then shyly sat down. They too seemed a bit nervous and shy to see us six visitors.
When the majority of kids were there, we got the ok from Lorna to start. We began by introducing ourselves, then moved on to the actual presentation. At first, the kids seemed a bit hesitant to answer any questions, but they warmed up a little bit as the time came to close. The first day done, I was a little more relaxed. I now had an idea of what I could say the next day.
The second came and this time I was a little more confident. We were greeted by some of the friendly teachers and then “the man with the keys”. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. The start of the morning proceeded in the same way as the previous. This time, I was more prepared and actually pitched in. The kids today seemed less nervous than the kids from yesterday which was a little more comforting for those of us who were presenting. They were more active in the conversation and seemed more excited about sharing their thoughts with us. There was one girl in particular who was very open and seemed to really enjoy what we were talking about. She also seemed to already kind of know about these places; it was obvious that she was a very smart, on-top-of-things girl. Kids like her make teaching (or presenting, I guess) a lot easier and make you feel like you’re actually saying something worthwhile; it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing your goal! I really enjoyed the second day there.
On the third day, the kids were as interactive as the kids from the second day. I walked in there feeling pretty confident about what I was doing (I had already done it twice!) and the kids’ attitudes helped a lot. They asked questions, answered questions, and were very attentive listeners.
I was really glad we had a chance to meet most of the kids that Lorna and Marty teach. It was nice to see what kinds of people they interacted with on a daily basis and also to see that part of their lives. And besides that, I loved getting to meet so many new people. Though we didn’t really have time to talk one-on-one with any of the kids, we were able to get a general sense through just talking to them about the presentation.
Also, it was really neat to see the different dynamics of the classes on each day. Since there were different kids each day, it was interesting to see how each group coped with each other and how they came together as a class. Some kids were quieter, some took the lead. Other kids listened well, and yet others whispered to their friends or zoned out here and there. One group was more shy. Another, more loud. Yet another, good listeners. Either way, all of the kids were fun to be with and it was neat spending that hour (more or less an hour) with them!