As Sonny and I finish the following plan, it occurs to me that there’s only one left to make. We’ve all complained about some of the challenges posed by lesson planning, so now that it’s almost over, we should be relieved I suppose. It’s a strange feeling, though.
Lesson Plan 9
- (Teams) Category Relay Race: Not only do the students have to write items that fit under the given category, they also have to complete a physical activity (ex. push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and so forth) before passing the whiteboard marker to their teammate. The team that finishes first gets an extra point.
- Writing task: ask the students to write at least four sentences about the activities that they would like to do the next day. One sentence for each activity. We asked for three indoor activities and one outdoor activity.
- Free time
The only aspect of the lesson plan that I note today is that the kids absolutely love the twist that we add to the category game. They had enough fun with the category game as we originally had it, with representatives from each time running up and writing all that they can think of to fit the category with their teammates shouting help and encouragement. However, the addition of a two-part physical component- the race and the physical activity that they have to complete- gets the adrenaline and excitement in the room flowing.
And it’s also worth noting the utility of asking the students to write about the activities that they want to do. It helps create a lesson plan quickly and it makes for one that they’re guaranteed to like. Tomorrow is the last day, after all. Wouldn’t want to part ways on a sour note.
As I flip through the students’ submissions, it’s pretty clear what the lesson plan will look like. Virtually every single one of them has written down bingo and the fly swatter game. The categories game follows in popularity, and then a handful want another chance to play our take on basketball.
Toward the end of the day, one of the girls makes me a present:
“Bravo,” I say, taking the gift with a smile. She smiles back shyly and runs off. I stow it away carefully in my backpack. I intend to keep everything that I receive on this trip as a keepsake. Perhaps the kids will keep some of the name placards that they made, as well as their writing tasks, as keepsakes in return. I’m not trying to get my hopes up though.
I wonder how the kids perceive the constant coming-and-going of volunteers. It’s not the ideal arrangement, that’s for sure. Kids need time to develop a rapport with their teachers. My volunteering trip is nearly over, and I feel that there’s still a long way to go in terms of building rapport. Then again, I’m selling our collective work short. Given the time-and other-constraints, we’ve made considerable progress. Having the kids demonstrate the effort to address us in English is, in and of itself, exciting. And greeting and bidding us farewell in English is a given now.
It’s all very promising. So the fact that there’s only one day left makes me feel strange. Whatever progress we’ve made thus far is to be handed over to the next batch of volunteers, one of whom has already arrived. She listens to our stories with both amusement and apprehension, and gladly takes the advice that we have to give. Perhaps some of it will even be applicable to her experience.
I’m conflicted. In a way, I feel a sense of relief that our time here has run its course. I could use a break. Teaching can be as exhausting as it is rewarding, and I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Sam’s capacity to do this every single day for weeks on end. And with such a positive attitude to boot! But on the other, the feeling of “giving up” on something is so frustrating. Not that we’re giving up on the students. I’m quite certain that the next team will do a wonderful job in progressing their education, actually. It’s just the fact that I have to detach myself from a work-in-progress. As an athlete, I’ve always been taught to keep pushing. To fight for every bit of improvement. To stay in it for the long haul.
But that perspective doesn’t do anything for me in this situation. I could come back the following year, I suppose. And I would likely be starting from scratch with a whole different set of students. So I have to place trust in the dozens upon dozens of people from all over the globe-most of whose names I won’t even know, let alone meet-and let myself drift.