The first two days actually teaching at the Migrant Children’s school were about as polar opposite as things could be. The first day could probably be best summed up as exhausting and disappointing. We basically just walked into 4th and 6th grade classes with absolutely no idea what to expect, and little teaching experience to go on. We were in groups of two or three, and the classrooms held between 40 and 50 kids. Quite frankly, we were all overwhelmed with the task put before us and felt like we had very little to offer these kids. Between their elementary English and our generally elementary Chinese, it was intimidating and just difficult to communicate.
But still, the kids were cheerful and excited that we had come to see them. Many would come up and talk to us, practicing basic English lines like “What are your hobbies?” and “What is your name?” Very similar to the questions I would ask them in my own basic Chinese. Despite the happy reaction, we all left the first day feeling like we were not going to accomplish anything in the next few days. Back home, we frantically worked to put together a new lesson plan.
The next day, today, was completely different. While still exhausting, the situation turned in a fairly productive time in which we became comfortable with strategies of teaching the children. I found talking one-on-one with the children most rewarding. There were some bad kids, but there were way more enthusiastic learners who always wanted to engage us.
I’m not sure if the next few days will get easier or not. But, unlike the first teaching day, I think we all feel like we will be contributing something to the school, even if just in a small way.