15 September 2010

Tutoring with Tudorita

I will start off this post by saying day 2 of the English Club was a success. I split the kiddos up in to groups by grade levels (4-8 and 9-12), and I run the club on different days. The younger kids are on Monday afternoons, and the older kiddos on Wednesday. Monday didn't go so well because I guess I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing. The only "foreign language" club I know is what I did at KU with the "frenchies"... the French Table. We (beginning students, Master's students, Professors, locals, native speakers) met at a bar once a week for a couple hours and we just had conversations in French. It wasn't for a grade or anything... it was just to practice speaking in French when we weren't in class. Personally, I thought it was a great idea. However, I also thought this is how English Club was supposed to work over here in Moldova, except instead of meeting at a bar, we meet at school. Well, let's just say I was wrong in that idea. The students (who all speak English very well) were not so excited about having conversations with their friends in English, when they can do it much easier at home in Romanian. Oh. Ok. Well.... things will have to be reviewed for next week. Because of this... let's just say... "misunderstanding" (you mean they actually want to LEARN something at English Club?!)... I changed things up a bit for the little kiddos. I did some research, downloaded an English Club Guide for Dummies book written by fellow PCV's in Moldova, and actually created a plan. (You mean sometimes it's a good thing to have a plan and be organized and do something ahead of time? Go figure.)

About 15 students showed up and they seemed to enjoy themselves. We went over basic introductions because I don't know everyone, played Simon Says using greetings (When I say, "Hello", wave your right hand. When I say, "Thank you", jump... etc). I think they had a good time.

But on the way to school I was stopped by the mother of one of my students. She asked if I could tutor her daughter, Tudorita (makes her name easy to remember... but really, that's her name). I thought she was asking if Tudorita could come to the English Club because she is only in 4th grade... but she really meant a one-on-one tutor session. I got so excited because most of the students to to see Maria for tutoring because she is amazing... but her family wanted ME to tutor her! Of course it was ok! When we finished English Club we came back to my house and began working on the pronunciation and memorization of a poem (which was her homework), and then she said that was all she needed help with. Thankfully I questioned if that was really it (which it wasn't) and we began to review verbs. I introduced her to the power of flashcards for studying, and I think it's really going to help her.

When we were done, she had me walk home with her to show her mother my iPad (it's amazing for giving presentations involving pictures!! ... and the kids love it). They then invited me to have some tea and cookies and we spoke in Romanian. When her dad came home, we continued talking, and it was wonderful. They tried to pay me as I was leaving but I told them that because I am a volunteer with the Peace Corps, that is not allowed. However, that discussion in Romanian/tea/cookies we just had? Absolutely perfect payment! Not only did I get to eat some yummy goodies, but I got to practice Romanian and they helped correct me. It was great!

Now it's time to start planning for my lessons for tomorrow... much later than expected, but it is well worth the wait. I have truly began to LOVE teaching.

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