On Sunday, I graduated my teacher training course. *Heavy sigh of relief* I spent the two weeks before the graduation working with teachers to get certification requirements finished, inviting people with titles, and of course, planning the event. I made invitations and printed them in color, created and printed the certificates, bought balloons, had Sabrill make a “Felicidades” poster (thanks, Sabrill), and successfully got the teachers to take over handling the brindis (refreshments) to be given out after the ceremony. Jean and Jackie also came up to support (thanks, yall).
During the course we went over educational topics like lesson planning, learning styles, teaching for the brain, critical thinking, etc, as well as Microsoft Office programs. Teachers from both the high school and one of the elementary schools participated. There were 16 in total.
Low moments from the course:
- During the second week of the high school course, one, count ‘em, one teacher showed up (thanks, host mom);
- I caught one of my teachers cheating on the first test;
- Having to keep repeating (after about 4 weeks) how to copy and paste to one of the teachers (coincidentally the same one that was cheating on her test).
High moments from the course:
- One of the teachers wrote on her evaluation that she now changed the way she planned her lessons because of the course;
- The teachers’ excitement over having created and given a presentation with MS PowerPoint for the first time;
- The drastic change I saw within one of my teacher’s classes in one day after she implemented the advice I gave her about classroom management.
To expound on point three of my high, I had to observe the teachers’ teaching practices in action to ensure that they were making an effort to implement what we were going over. There was one teacher in particular that I was worried about, because during the preliminary visit, the class was a disaster. This time when I walked into the classroom, not much had changed: kids were coming and going in and out of the classroom as they pleased, others were just walking around for no reason, one kid was in the back of the room dancing bachata, none of them were doing the given assignment (well…maybe three were), and the teacher spent the entire class period responding to bad behavior by yelling at them. This was a first grade class. A. Ship. Wreck. During the certification visits, I tended to not say or do anything that would interrupt the class, since I was just observing, and afterward I would give the teachers the feedback later. With this teacher, I had to say something to her right then; I mean, as it was, nothing was getting done in class anyway. I tried to mask my devastation as I expressed to her that she needed to implement some sort of system for order and discipline. I suggested that first off, there’s no reason why any of the first graders needed to be out of their seats without her explicit permission, and that that alone would probably cut out a lot of her issues with them not being attentive and not doing work. I suggested that she not let them all go to recess at once, but instead to call on them one by one, based on who was behaving well, and to not let them re-enter the room rowdy once recess finished. I went back the next class day, which was Monday, and it was completely different! A total 180! I was shocked, and elated at the drastic and sudden positive change!
At the beginning, I was so nervous about carrying out this course, since I’ve never been a formal school teacher myself. I wondered how I was qualified to realize this effort. But I really just took on the role of the facilitator of information, and the one to help implement it, rather than the one to teach them. And, through the grace of God, I was not only able to complete the course, but I feel also make a difference. That’s really encouraging. I do feel the need to go over some basic computer topics with these teachers again (and this time, make sure they are taking notes!), and I plan to do more in depth courses, perhaps in the summer with them. But I’m so excited to have something accomplished. Here some pics: