Hello hello! Apologies for slacking on the blog lately, but I have a few things I plan on posting over the next few days, so thanks for not giving up on me just yet!
First of all, I just wanted to update everyone on what I’ve actually been DOING over the past couple of months–school started here in Guyana back on September 2nd. For these first couple of months I have mainly been focused on getting to know the teachers and students at my school, getting a schedule/timetable going for my literacy pull-outs, and slowly but surely working on the school’s Literacy Room, which will be “my” classroom over the next two school years. Our school has 155 students, which is really small for a Primary School here in Linden–the other two Education volunteers here have between 500 and 600 students at their schools, just to give you an idea. I have really enjoyed being at a smaller school so far, as it has made getting to know everyone a little bit less daunting. So far the teachers, students, and Headmistress have been very welcoming towards me, and even presented me with a surprise 30th birthday gift at morning assembly–albeit a couple weeks late 🙂
On a daily basis, I work with small groups of kids (usually 6-10) from Grades 1-6 and we mainly focus on literacy skills. Illiteracy is a huge challenge in Guyana, and it is not uncommon to find a grade 5 or 6 student that cannot identify letters/sounds. This is not meant to sound negative, more just to give you an idea of why it is Education volunteers in Guyana are placed at Primary Schools and why we focus mainly on literacy skill building. I do all kinds of different activities, whether it be simple phonics, read-alouds/storytelling, reading games/relay races (make anything a competition and Guyanese children become pretty motivated); I’ve even started somewhat of a ‘Book Club’ with my Grade 6ers and so far they are really into it!
Getting a schedule made was a bit of a challenge, since I really tried not to take away from the teacher’s instructional time, but at the same time getting a good chunk of time 1-2 times a week to try to catch these kiddos up to their classmates. I think the timetable we have going now is working pretty well for everyone, and I even have time to fit in some whole-class instruction time with Grades 4,5, and 6 to work on comprehension.
The Literacy Room has really been handed over to me as a bit of a pet project. Progress has been a little slower than expected, but it is slowly coming together and I get a chance to address the PTA this week about continuing to develop the room as a school-wide resource, so wish me luck on that! I don’t want to drone on and on too long about the ins and outs of school, so for now I will just post a few pictures that I think embody the school year so far. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below, and I’ll get back atcha as soon as I can. Thanks for reading, and as always…Peace & Love from Guyana.