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.
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.