Somehow nearly three weeks have flown by since the beginning of my trip and I have already finished my second week of teaching in two primary schools around Huanchaco. It’s been so busy that it feels as though I’ve been in Huanchaco for much longer already. It’s been a time full of new experiences and new friends. Here are some of the new things I’ve experienced (/heard about since arriving!)
I’m working with two other girls in both schools. I know I could have been thrown right in alone so it has been great to have them around ease me in and learn from. I have taught English before to High School students and adults and have worked with primary age children but teaching ESL to kids this young is a new experience for me. The schools are both pretty basic and for the most part we teach joint age groups (grades 1 & 2, 3 & 4 etc.). This presents challenges, especially in the youngest groups, where the children are at different levels of reading and writing in Spanish, let alone English. So far most of the lessons I have been here for have gone well. There are frustrations, with the local teachers and students alike, but there are also those great moments when a child realises they can do something, or surprises you by remembering something from the last class. The kids are friendly, and whilst they don’t always show it in class, they seem to get genuinely excited for English lessons, some even sit with us at break time and spend 30 minutes asking how to say things in English.
During my Otra Cosa induction I was told school would finish early, in November rather than December, due El Niño. This apparently a fairly well known phenomenon, but it was new to me. I won’t go into too much detail here as El Niño really deserves it’s own post, but according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Service, El Niño ‘is a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in temperatures in the Equitoril Pacific’. It affects different places in various ways. It also occurs in irregular cycles, and the severity of the weather changes depends on the extent to which ocean temperatures increase. This El Niño is set to be a big one, and in northern Peru this means there will be large amounts of rain fall, something they haven’t seen much since the last major El Niño in 1997-8.
Here in Huanchaco there’s a big surfing community. It’s not something I have ever felt like doing before but not one to be left out, I went for my first class. I went on a day where the weather was less than perfect for a complete beginner (apparently courtesy of El Niño) but I had a lot of fun, even managed to stand up for all of about one second. I haven’t rushed back into the water yet but I will be going for a second lesson. It’s hard
work, pretty taxing on the arms and I’ve never been so hungry as after 2 hours of class, I really should do some press ups before the next class! There have been plenty of other new and exciting experiences (especially around food and different volunteer project), but I’ll save them for another time!
Written by Rebecca Heller