Survival Guide: Teaching

The past three months have sped by and I can’t believe it’s already time for another one of these! The idea that the next three months might go at the same time pace terrifies me. At the same time there are things I’m am looking forward to about going home but I’m not ready to say goodbye to Honduras just yet. With the next three months mostly taken up by teaching and that being the purpose of the year (despite what my Facebook photos make it look like!) this anniversary blog post contains some top tips for making it through teaching in general and especially in Honduras.

Survival Guide: Teaching

  • Take every opportunity for a day off – the kids aren’t the only ones that get homework in this job so it can take its toll at times.
  • Be prepared to learn from them – this can be by them teaching you knew everyday phrases in Spanish to the games they like to how they learn best. Whatever it is, take note. 
  • Sometime no matter how hard you try, no learning is happening today – kids are fickle beings and have short attention spans and sometimes they are just not in the mood so on these days there’s no use in running yourself ragged trying to force it to happen.
  • Wear outfits that go with an inordinate  amount of stickers – if I don’t come away from a day of classes without at least a couple of stickers, something’s wrong. 
  • Don’t be ashamed to wing it – it’s something we’ve all done. If you didn’t have time to plan a lesson, if the lesson you did plan isn’t working, if your class needs some unexpected revision, all are perfectly good reasons to just go with it. 
  • No one is too old for If You’re Happy and You Know It or Sara Says – personal favourites of mine as they are perfect fillers for the last five minutes of class when you’ve run out of actual things to teach!
  • Give up all concept of personal space – between the mountain of hugs at the start and end of every lesson and their favourite game (a version of peekaboo mixed with guess who) there are always little sticky hands grabbing at you. 
  • Don’t let exam results get you down – you can be the best teacher Project Trust has ever had but at the end of the day some kids are not made for exams. Especially in the primary school, it’s easy to forget how young they are and at this age, as at any age, test results are not the end of the world.
  • Don’t be alarmed when a kid brings a machete to school – machetes are something that you get used to quickly in Honduras but the first time you come into a class where every student has one under their chair, that’s still a bit of a shock.
  • A full week of teaching is a rare thing – classes are cancelled, teachers are off, there’s a holiday, the list goes on and on but in the whole 9 months we’ve been here there has not been a week when we have taught every single lesson we are supposed to.
  • Take pride in the small victories – sometimes the fact that your class can sing the alphabet without any help from you or that they answer the question ‘how are you’ without repeating it or that they are excited to see you when you walk into class is enough to make your day.
  • Have fun with it – sometimes a lesson full of games is what everyone needs.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – Reduce your workload by reusing old lesson and recycling ideas. Also beg, borrow and steal from other teachers, volunteers, anything you can get your hands on. 

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