Our first time in school was on Thursday during the week of our arrival. We got to meet the kids and teachers, and sat in on a teachers meeting, which was definitely stressful for me as I was on Spanish overload. Overall, though, it was a good day to just learn and become familiar with what we were going to be doing. Friday in Baños was even better because we got to have fun, explore the city and meet a lot of the kids we are working with this month!
Our first “real” start of teaching was probably on Monday (the following week). Monday was definitely just a get to know you day. We passed a ball around that had questions on it so we could learn more about the students and what their English level is at. Over all it was very successful, although I am still struggling with names (5 days later), unfortunately!
In all honesty, I’ve definitely felt just about every emotion possible this week. I’ve been mostly happy, sometimes confused and stressed, definitely tired, and pretty frustrated at some points too. Being someone who doesn’t enjoy being bad at things (like pretty much everyone else in the world), it’s been a weird adjustment for me. My Spanish is nowhere near fluent, but I understand the majority of what is being said (as long as there aren’t a million people talking at once). Still, I know there are A LOT of words that I don’t know and that definitely frustrates me. Thinking and trying to speak in a different language is exhausting and it has definitely taken a toll on my mentally and sometimes emotionally. It has gotten better as the days have gone by, but I still have a lot to learn and to practice. I also feel bad for the teachers I work with when I don’t understand what they are saying and they don’t know how to explain it because we speak different languages. I am very lucky that one of the teachers at the school speaks English pretty well, and he helps me communicate with other teachers when I need it, and fills in some of the blanks that I can’t figure out on my own. I also can’t say enough how glad I am to have an awesome buddy like Andrew here. Being able to speak English takes off some of the stress, but also just having a friend helps immensely. I am glad we are experiencing these 5 weeks together.
All in all, I have enjoyed myself, though this definitely is not a vacation. If you asked me today how I felt, I would say ,”Eh, okay”; yesterday I probably would have answered the same question with an “AWESOME! I love it here!” It has definitely been a rollercoaster. I’ve been excited about my students being excited, and I feel like I have learned just as much from teaching as my students have learned from me (probably even more). By the end of my 5 weeks here I have no doubts that I will look back and say that I absolutely loved my time here! For now though, I am definitely taking everything day by day.