I work five days a week, but my hours are all over the place. My hours are both a blessing and a curse: a “blessing” because most of my classes start in the evening (giving me a chance to sleep in) and a “curse” because my classes are during the times when the majority of people are off work, which makes it difficult to interact with the “outside world”.
All the classes I teach are three hours long. Let me repeat this, three hours long…THREE! HOURS! LONG! In the beginning, these hours posed a challenge, but now, I find that I can easily fill these hours and in fact, they fly by way too quickly for everything that I want to do.
Below are some workday examples.
I teach one of my two Young Learner 1 classes. The children are anywhere from 5-9 years old. In this class, there are 9 students and I love them all dearly. The class goes from 6-9pm. We sing songs, play games and complete work from the book, all while I listen to their stories (some in English, but mostly I sit and listen to their Darija and French).
It fascinates and upsets me that my students have these complex personalities that I can only know on the surface because of the language barrier.
This class is particularly interesting because, unlike my YL 5 classes where the children are advanced, these children know only basic English and thus are more of a mystery to me.
Saturdays: Welcome to the Circus
I teach my first class from 9-12pm (YL 5, 12 students). Next, I have a two and a half hour lunch break. This is followed by a three-hour chunk of time divided hourly into the following: extra help, Model UN club, and drama club.
During extra help, students can come and ask questions or get help on topics they don’t understand. I currently have two students who come every week, and sometimes there are others.
In MUN club, we are working on an environmental policy poster, while in drama, we do mini plays as well as games.
We are currently performing The Three Little Pigs, and my students know the lines well enough now to only need minimal assistance.
Drama club is challenging due to the wide range of language levels. It makes it difficult to do more “independent” drama activities and games. All of my students are very young, 5-9 years old, and they have all just begun to learn English. But I so appreciate their energy and enthusiasm!
Drama club is followed by another three-hour class, YL 1 with 14 students. This class is challenging because it goes from 5:45-8:45pm; basically fulfilling a 12 hour day (9am to 9pm).
This class is great because there are a few students who LOVE being my helpers and they always jump at the chance to help me explain things to the others or open the door for the hundredth time (because everyone MUST go to the bathroom at least three or four times each class).
Saturday is also exhausting because it follows Friday nights.
On Friday nights, we teach from 6:30-9:30pm, followed by a staff sports league. Right now it’s basketball. We usually don’t get home until after 10pm.
So there you have it. Teaching requires continual patience and a never-ending supply of enthusiasm. The best days cannot be predicted, and the best moments are always a surprise.