Not only did I sign up to be a teacher (with no previous experience, mind you), but I am supposed to teach in Spanish (also very little previous experience)??? WHAT???
Yes, I knew this coming in, but I don´t think I thought it through ent¡rely. Either way, here I am, CMT´s newest Computacion (computers/marketing) teacher, whether I am ready or not! When I was here for spring break I mostly shadowed volunteers´ English classes, so naturally, I figured that is what I would spend the majority of my time doing. WRONG. As of next Monday, I will teach above mentioned computer class to colegio (high school - 13 to 20 year olds) students 3 mornings a week, tutor every afternoon, teach adults every evening, then teach ONE english class to 2nd grade girls on Friday mornings. I was quite taken aback (and slightly disappointed) with my schedule, but the more I think about it (and get nervous about it), the more I realize I have no choice but to put it in God´s hands. I am still sure that I was called to spend a year of my life here for a reason, and it´s not up to me to determine that reason. I am here to serve the people of CMT in whatever way they see fit!
So, the last week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I feel indescribably comfortable and at home at CMT, but I have also been challenged mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally in ways I´ve never experienced before. I had to introduce myself in front of 50+ Ecuadorian teachers and pray out loud in Spanish the other day. Yesterday, we spent 6 hours digging holes, shoveling rocks, and mixing cement to help one of our families build their new house. Every time I attempt to get one of my many questions answered, I find that I either ask the wrong person or receive an entirely unexpected (and often wrong, I´ve come to find out) answer. I´m sure many of you can imagine how this aggravates me, a not so patient person who likes to be "in the know" all the time! I just had a meeting with the 2 Ecuadorian Computacion teachers I will be working with...2 of them, 1 of me, all in Spanish! Halfway through, God answered my prayers and one of my fellow, and much more fluent, LTVs (long term volunteers) walked in the classroom and translated the tricky parts for us. Those are just a few of many examples I could rattle off!
As exhausting and frustrating as these daily challenges can be, the people I have met and gotten to know here make up for it. I truly love the volunteers I live with and I don´t know how I would have survived the last week without them! A whole lot of bonding took place this past weekend - shopping trips, cooking together, decorating our rooms, watching movies, exploring and discovering Quito, playing cards, going out on the town, getting lost, and many heart to hearts. The Ecuadorians at the Center are wonderful, as well. They are kind, caring people, and extrememly patient when it comes to communicating!
I have so much work to do in the next week to prepare for classes and improve my speaking skills. We only have a few meetings here and there, so it will be nice to have a little down time before things get crazy next week! I am definitely excited to be around the kids more though....and on that note, I will leave you with a funny little story...
My name is very difficult for them to pronounce here, mostly because they don´t have a double "e" sound in Spanish. I usually introduce myself, then they respond with anything from "pele?" to "willy?" to "kayla?" This morning, we spent time shadowing Ecuadorian teachers to get an idea of how they run their classrooms. Six of us were lined up in front of the room introducing ourselves. I was the 4th one to go and when it was my turn, I pronounced my name very clearly and they repeated it back over and over until it sounded like they got it. Then the teacher called on students to repeat all of our names out loud. The little 4th grader was doing a fantastic job...."patricio, elizabeth, matheo, persona...numero cuatro!"...until she called me "person number 4" without missing a beat! Of course, everyone thought it was pretty funny and that´s what I was called for the rest of the day. So, thank you mom and dad, for the "unique" (troublesome) name!
Oh, I want to throw in a little shoutout to all my friends who have September birthdays (seriously, there are like 12 of them...so, thank you to THEIR moms and dads...for making it impossible to keep them all straight!) Anyway, I love you all and I wish I could be in CO, MN, IL, WI, etc. to help you celebrate!