>> Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Last week was the English Immersion Summer Camp, but now we’re back home and here I am, up early on a Wednesday morning because it’s trash day. We have to wake up early to put the trash out; if it goes out the night before, the dogs will tear it apart and make a giant mess. As I was outside putting away the trash, the paper man walked by so I got a La Prensa in which I noticed an article saying that Ortega committed the Nicaraguan military to Venezuela to fight against the US. That kind of scared me and made me wonder what Nicaragua got itself into. I made a mental note to search Google news later to see if this was noticed in the US media (it seems like cooler heads prevailed). All of these forces combined keep me from getting back to sleep so I just accepted it and made some great Matagalpan coffee in my French press (thanks, Santa!) and started listening to my iPod to find a song that would be good to teach my community English class tonight.
We taught Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy to our “Beginner” summer camp class and that went over really well, but I think those kids are a little more advanced than my English II class at the library. This makes me a little sad; the summer camp was so inspiring because all of the students were really motivated and wanted to learn as much as they could. I didn’t hear “Profe, no entieeeeeeendo” (“Teacher, I don’t understaaaand”) a single time all week, which is something I hear at least once every hour at my high school.
Last week’s newspaper article about the camp said that it was the 100 best students in the country and (for the most part) I believe it. Everyone was really eager to speak in English and practice while they had the opportunity. The whole week was a great cultural exchange and we got to teach advanced concepts like Americans’ aversion to butting in line and the always-useful phrase, “Who cut the cheese?” All of the classes were completely in English and the students participated enthusiastically.
The summer camp was split between beginner and intermediate (5 classes total) and during the second week there were 10 Volunteers teaching the listening and speaking, reading and vocabulary, and culture classes, so most of us taught together. Jeff and I taught listening and speaking to beginners while Holly and Nicole took the intermediate listening/speaking classes. Here’s Nicole doing something wild:And Jeff about to get mauled thanks to an ill-conceived game of Spoons:All of the students had to learn the US National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance (which might have been taking things a little too far), but I think this group worked in some subtle protests… see if you can spot the rebellion:
Here’s Holly’s other class showing off their homework (they did their homework!). They had to design a new clothing invention and make up an advertisement for it:Each class had just 20 students, which meant that we got to play a lot of games and have more fun in class. Here’s a game we played with balloons:Here’s a board game that was a big success and that showcases Nicaraguans’ love for 80s pop culture (they got to choose which people to put on their game boards):
For the close of the camp, Ambassador Trivelli came by to speak to the group and to pose for pictures. Here is Ambassador Trivelli, the PC Nicaragua country director, the Nicaraguan teachers that worked at the camp during the first week, and all the Volunteers that helped:
Just like all of the best summer camps, it was really hard for everyone to say goodbye when it was over. It was a big success and we’re ready to sign up for next year.