San Miguel is a small town of about 500 people located an hour by car (2+ by bus) from Panama City and is the closest town to the valley. Over the past 2 years, we have been working to help the community in San Miguel. My role in this is teaching students English in grades kindergarten through 6th grade. The school has 4 rooms where multiple grades are taught in the same room at the same time, but face different directions according to their grade.
In our English classes, we have 4 on Tuesday and 4 on Wednesday in order of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and 5th and 6th grade. Brigette and I are called “ticher” and always receive hugs and “hellos” from the students every morning. The kindergarten kids are adorable and best to have first thing in the morning before their energy kicks in. We have reviewed colors by having them color in a rainbow, numbers, and the alphabet.
1st and 2nd grade may be the most challenging class as the students have the most energy, but we have discovered that they love to color and draw. On the first day of class is started to rain so all the students instinctively drew rain pictures and gave them to us as gifts with notes on them. Their favorite review though is definitely head, shoulders, knees, and toes. It’s amazing how much easier it is for the students to learn when it is put into a song.
3rd and 4th grade loves to play games! Anything from bingo, to hangman, to simon says; games are definitely their favorite activity. These students are very well behaved and are a pleasure to teach. 5th and 6th is more advanced and surprise us everyday with their knowledge. Finding a balance on how to teach new material effectively is something we are still working on with them, but it is incredible how some of these students are so eager and excited to learn.
Although this work is extremely tiring, it is also some of the most rewarding work I have done. These kids really want to learn and put their full effort in. In return, it drives me more to work harder for them. I enjoy putting together their lesson plans together and trying to figure out how to make it the best and most interactive for the students.