by Jamie Nabers
For me, this session started off with a feeling of curiosity. Curiosity if the kids would remember their English classes, remember their ‘FUN’ Thrilling Thursday activities, their teachers, and their love for learning. And without a shadow of a doubt…they remembered!
I remember on Day 1 of the first session, Lindsay and I opened up the classroom and for the first 15-20 minutes there was nobody in our kinder class. Then…the fun started! It’s almost as if the kids could sense that the doors were open and something fun was happening in this little classroom inside the park. I got to re-unite with some kids that I hadn’t seen in a while and see kids eager to be back in a learning environment.
The program is still in its first year and the kids had an almost two month break, so we are still making our presence known in the small town of Brasilito. I think the quick resiliency of the kids and the community to welcome us back in so eagerly, is due to all the hard work and love that the prior lead Brasilito teacher and other volunteers showed for this community!
We have kids English classes happening Monday through Wednesday for 3 different age groups, and Thrilling Thursday for all age groups.
There is a soccer class offered for all ages on Mondays. Last year it took several weeks to gain momentum. However, this year there are about 12-15 boys that are participating regularly every week with Coach John.
Lastly, there are two English adult classes being offered every week. These classes meet at the Happy Snapper Restaurant and there has been an explosion of interest ever since our first class. There is such a desire to learn English right now and people are taking this skill very seriously. For some it is solely for fun but for the majority, they all concur they need English for their jobs and/or promotion opportunities. We have students working at Reserva Conchal (probably the largest employer in the area), local ferreterias, hotels/apartment complexes, and restaurants.
We may not immediately see the impact teaching English has on the students but they notice it. For them, learning English is vital for their livelihood in an area so dependent on tourism as being able to communicate in English gives them an edge that impacts them, their families, and their futures.
The Brasilito program is to a good start and I’m excited to see what the rest of 2013 has in store!