Monday, November 17, 2008
I am Peace Corps, and so Can You
Self-esteem problems? Not feeling up to your usual stands? Or maybe you just had a bad day. The cure all solution: Teach english to 4th graders in Bulgaria. I can not overstate this enough; teaching english to 4th graders in Bulgaria is like scoring a touchdown in the superbowl, getting prom king/queen, going to Disneyland with no lines. And all you have to do? Draw pictures of animals from Finding Nemo, write 3-digit numbers, and read a story that is 4 sentences long.
When I arrived to the classroom, there was pandimomium. Kids were literally pushing each other over to look at me. One girl just stared, and then all at once blurted out "Hi-bye-hello-howareyou-hi". The game plan for the days lesson consisted of learning about the weather, telling time and sea animals. Surfing came up too, and two boys wanted to show me what surfing looks like, and eventually I had 15 kids pretending to surf. Mid-way through my tutorial on sea-horses and sting rays, a little girl, Natalie, ran up to the teacher and whispered something, then ran back to her desk. The teacher then told me she really wants to tell me the months of the year. Natalie, who by this point was about to jump out of her seat with a mile-wide smile, stood up and said 12 months in under 4 seconds. When I said "dobre" ('good' in Bulgarian) she giggled and every hand in the class shot up with the hope of showing off their calendar skills. Other high points were the number game, and when I asked everyone to share their favorite food, the only two responses were "hot-dog" and "pizza", which always generated a laugh from the class.
I was about the leave, backpack on, when a swarm of kids swamped me, with everyone strangely silent. Then the teacher told me "They want you to come back". I played to the crowd, and did a greatly exaggerated thinking face. Paused a few seconds for effect. And then told them of course I'll be back, which held to an eruption of "yeahhh!!!!!!". Followed by kids actually dancing (seriously) and yelling my name (which was adorably pronounced as "Two-bee"). My self-esteem is through the roof.