May 21st marked the beginning of a 6-week summer English program at STEP. Cindy, my cousin Jamie (who came down for 7 weeks specifically to teach,) Jennica (a close family friend who taught for the second 3 weeks of the course), and I all prepared ourselves for the upcoming weeks of challenging times. Each of us had different level of students ranging from barely even able to greet someone in English to being able to carry on a small conversation. We would meet 4 days a weeks for a total of 10 hours, therefore allowing the students to really catch on and practice what they were learning. For me, around half way through the program, I had already started to notice major improvements from day one. The curriculum we used was very teacher friendly and the students enjoyed it as well.
My students going over vocabulary
Jamie with a group of her students
A weekly spelling quiz
Jennica with her students
Cindy listening to conversation practice
My whole class
After our 6 weeks of classes us teachers felt we should celebrate with a party for the students. We sang songs they had learned in English, played games in which they really got into and became competitive, and had snacks together.
First, we started with Pictionary
Next, we played a game where we gave a topic to one team at a time and they had one minute to name off as many things as they could think of in that topic. We had a list of 10 things and if they got the bonus word they received extra points. We used topics we had cover in English. Watching these seminary students get into games was a riot!!
This team was so animated and they had the topic "the body"
This was my absolute favorite moment. The man in the blue shirt was a part of our English classes, his name is Pastor Vezel. He is a pastor who is also a professor at STEP, but wanted to further his English so he participated in the summer English program. When the students attend STEP during the school year they must wear ties everyday, but because this was summer school and a party many dressed casual. Pastor Vezel was the only one with a tie... watching him rush to the center trying to get his tie off was hilarious! This reserved quiet pastor and STEP professor sure came out of his shell and the students found it hilarious!
Lastly, we played this number game. Students were to make a list using numbers 1-60 in sets of 3. Then we would call out sets of 3. If the students had that specific number they were to choose a paper bag from the center. When the bags ran out they were to steal one from someone. Many thought they were getting these amazing prizes inside the bags, but I'll let the pictures explain.
One found a rock...
Another found some crystal light packets, but had no idea what they were.
One found just one garden glove in his bag.
The party was a success!!!
You'd think since many of the students can hardly afford to live day by day the last thing they'd be thinking of is gifts for others, but these students are so thoughtful. Each class presented their teacher with a card signed by all expressing their appreciation along with a gift and a thoughtful speech. I taught them English and in return they taught me patience, they brought me so much joy, and they reminded and continue to remind me of what true gratitude looks like. They were exceptionally pleased with what they learned, but little did they know the impact they had on me in our short 6 weeks.