As some of you may know we’ve had an addition to our schedule. English Through Art Class.
We weren’t quite sure how we were going to do it, but it certainly felt like we were supposed to. Plus, before we had even landed kids were already signed up for classes!
So on top of the normal English tutoring classes we have on the weekends, two art classes per week were thrown into the mix as well.
Our schedule now looks a little something like this:
Sunday: 8:30am – 8:00pm are all Literature classes.
Monday: Usually our day off! No classes are scheduled and we just chill and regroup.
Tuesday: Again, no classes. Just school and normal day life.
Wednesday: 4:30pm – 6:30pm there’s an English through Literature class.
Thursday: 4:30pm – 6:30pm is the big English through Art class.
Friday: We normally have a student for a few hours, but as he’s traveling currently, his classes are on pause for a while.
Saturday: 9:00am – 8:30 or 9:00pm we have Literature and a smaller Art class.
As we’ve learned rather quickly, nothing here is easy. I mean nothing. From taking a shower, to washing dishes, cooking, so you can imagine planning and teaching an art class can be crazy. Especially when it’s full of kids who have learned to treat everything as a competition and are constantly trying to get the teacher’s approval (aka my dad) and attention so they can have the best drawing or painting.
But just as there are moments of frustration or just not understanding as to what it going on, there are also moments of laughter, breakthroughs with the kids, and awesome moments as we get to watch them learn, pick up on new english words, and as we get to know them.
Though some of the kids are usually pretty tired when they show up as they’ve had classes all day long, they seem to genuinely be enjoying themselves. A few of the kids already take an art class at their school but they say they have so much fun with us they keep doing both!
A couple of the kids in the smaller art class have also been taking the English through Literature class with us for a while as well. Needless to say we’ve been seeing a lot of them and they speak almost fluent english. Their moms are always around too, and though they can’t speak as much english, we’ve gotten to know them very well too.
They’ve actually taken it upon themselves to cook lunch for us once a week! So when they’re here for their kid’s class they’ll bring ingredients, (kindly) take over the kitchen, clean up as they go, and make plenty of food for everyone.
The kids are here are not used to teachers being friends. It’s a totally foreign concept to them. So when they’re in class with us and they have my Dad and the couple we’re partnered with talking to them, listening to them, and laughing with them, it’s weird for them to experience.
Thankfully the Art Class is really laid back. Yes it can be stressful when you have almost all the moms watching, and the kids are a bit demanding at times, but there are times when you just have to laugh and go with the flow. They’ve been drawing a different animal each class, and my dad will sometimes make it into a guessing game. He won’t tell them what they’re drawing just give them step by step instructions until they can make it out for themselves. Hearing them calling out their guesses, or trying to think of how to say that word in english is something that gets everybody laughing.
It may not seem like much, it truly is a lot. My mom is baking a snack for the kids and their moms every class, Dad teaches, helping each kid trying to keep them in order and engaged at the same time. Some of us will either take the class to hang out with the kids or help in making sure they all have their supplies and are getting equal amounts of attention to please the parents.
So yeah. It’s crazy. But getting to know them, being an example, and just laughing with them is doing so much more than we’ll probably ever know.
It’s safe to say none of us ever thought this would be our norm. And it’s even safer to say we never thought we’d be okay with this norm. When you know it’s what you’re supposed to be doing, and where you’re supposed to be, you learn to have fun with it.