Playing a round of “Steal the Eraser” with my students.

Profe Patricia is back in the States! As I was looking over my past blog posts, I realized that I only briefly mentioned my experience teaching English in the Dominican Republic. I taught English three days per week in the afternoons. On Mondays, I taught a group of adolescents who were part of a soccer organization called Café con Leche, which means “coffee with milk.” On Tuesdays, I held classes at the school in Lechería with a group of teenagers and adults from the community. My most challenging class was on Wednesdays with a baseball team of 25 boys! They ranged in age from 10 to 17 years old, so you can imagine that trying to maintain control of the classroom felt like herding cats at times. I was extremely nervous before I started, but it turned out to be one of my favorite activities. Thankfully, my Aunt Rita used to teach ESL classes, so she shared a lot of great resources with me. I also found ideas for games and activities online. One of their favorite games was called “Robar el Borrador” (Steal the Eraser), in which two students would do a face-off to see who could translate a word in English the fastest. I started each class by teaching the vocabulary of the week, which included sports, food, introducing oneself, and so forth.

A picture from the graduation ceremony (Photo used with permission from the school).

CSA gave me the freedom to make my own lesson plans based on what my students wanted to learn. Of course, I couldn’t fulfill all of their requests, as some of the teenage boys asked to learn how to “pick up girls” in English. ¡Ay Dios mio! During the last week of English classes, I held a small graduation ceremony for my students.

For my next and final blog post, I will be talking about reverse culture shock. Most people prepare for experiencing culture shock when they first arrive in a new country, but not everyone is prepared for culture shock when they return back home. I am grateful that my field advisor, Stephanie Vroman-Goodrich, talked about the possibility of this happening (which it did) and provided me with resources that helped me handle these emotions.

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2 thoughts on “Despedidas

  1. Pat Shelly

    Dear Profe Patricia,
    From herding the adolescent cats to keeping the 3 year-olds from stripping down, you have had some very lively experiences! I especially appreciate the personal anecdotes – aching from building the wall, advice from your aunts. the beauty of tropical rain and rainbows. The description of your best intentions perhaps going astray regarding the Star Pupil certificates was a good example of experiential learning! am eagerly anticipating the re-entry / culture shock post you will be writing.
    Wishing you good rest (and some good pizza maybe!),

  2. Jim Lavin

    Holly, Thanks for letting me into your social work world in Central America. There will be culture shock along the way of your career (’cause even a family unto itself is a ‘culture’—-right down to the individual). Bienvenidos a tú regresa a los Estados Unidos. Garda mucho tus memorias y digame los tiempos favoritos en su estudios en ‘field work’.

    Tu tio,

    Diego (Jim)

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