Day one of model school I hopped into a car and headed towards a school I had never been to before. I anxiously waited to pull up and see where I would be teaching for the next two weeks. I was excited but also very nervous! I had never taught before, let alone to a group of secondary students in a foreign country.
Miss Lauren and I set up our classroom and passed out name tags for students to decorate and explain what they wanted to learn in the two weeks. Many said they were hoping to make new friends and learn as much as they could about HFLE, Health and Family Life Education . Miss Lauren kicked off model school with introductions and a game and then I followed with a lesson on Emotions. We had a local teacher sit in on our class and grade us based on our teaching skills, how well we were prepared and how we managed our classroom so everyone participated and paid attention. We said goodbye to the students around noon and sat in amazement that we somehow survived our first day as “teachers”. All of the 12 health volunteers and staff would then group up in a room and discuss how they thought the day went and what we needed to work on for the coming days. I sat there eating my lunch realizing that teaching HFLE to 10-14 yr olds really wasn’t going to be as scary as I expected!
There’s only one volunteer out of the twelve of us who actually has experience teaching and the local teachers and staff were convinced that we had all taught before, based on our performance the first day. I guess our week of practice amongst one another paid off. We went through the week in similar fashion, teaching two lessons a day. Miss Lauren leading one lesson and myself another. We co- taught the lessons we weren’t leading also, since we will have co-teachers when we get to our real schools. Lauren and I made a great team as we went over topics such as anger management, physical fitness, sex and the media, hydration, recycling, hiv/aides, puberty, and contraceptives. We tried to be as creative as possible to get students excited and interested by having them act out scenarios or play trivia games, or compete in water relays. The typical teaching style in Guyana is lecturing while students write in a journal so our job as Peace Corps volunteers is to make sure all of the HFLE topics are taught in a fun and interesting way.
At the end of week two we decorated graduation certificates and presented them to the students during our closing ceremony of model school.
It was so much fun to see different groups perform and have our students present all the teachers with cards and little tokens of their thanks for the two weeks. It touched my heart how amazing miss Lauren and my students were! They basically threw us a little party with a cake and bubbly and a bunch of hand written cards!
I can’t even get over how sweet their messages were about how much they learned and how thankful they were that we came to teach them! It was great to see that they all made new friends and learned a lot just like they hoped for. I wish I could keep my class for the whole service but unfortunately they will all be in various schools in region two, where as I’ll be in region 3 and miss Lauren will be in Region 9.
As we hugged all of our students goodbye and took many many selfies with them I couldn’t help but think how much we managed to accomplish in two weeks. We all sat around and gave our last diagnosis on how we think model school went as a whole and I’m really pleased to say that it went really well. It gave me the confidence I needed to go into my own school. Since this framework is new (volunteers teaching HFLE in schools) PC had never done model school before and I think staff was very surprised how smooth it went. Haha They continuously reminded us how they had phone calls with us months ago and talked with many of us about how nervous we were about teaching but we proved to them these past two weeks that we are very capable of conquering our fears and stepping up to the role as a teacher. To think about what we accomplished in two weeks makes me excited to see what we can accomplish in two years!
I became closer with all of the health volunteers and am excited to start teaching in my own school. I really enjoyed these past two weeks and the experiences I have gained and the relationships I have built and it makes me even more excited for the future ahead! Thank you fellow volunteers, staff, and model school for giving me the confidence I needed to be a real teacher! Time to teach some HFLE!
Three weeks till swear in!