First Day of School

  First day of school for me as a teacher!  The Waan Aolep en Majel (Canoes of the Marshall Islands) program that D and visited in Majuro has started a group on Ebeye and I was asked to teach a class once a week in English, reading and writing.  Monday evening was my first class.  I'd asked the director what the guys English level was and the answer I got was, "Some Elementary school."
   I had no idea where to start.  After some brainstorming, I came up with three ways to test what they knew and how they learned.  I started the class by giving a small speech about myself in English and then asking them to raise their hands based on how much they understood what I said.  Most of them didn't raise their hands at all (Okay, not great at spoken English).  Next I put the English alphabet up on the board and we reviewed it out loud.  Most of the knew their letters and when I handed out cards with letters on them, each one was able to come up with a word for their letter (even X, Q, and Z).  To see how well they could write, I asked them all to write down their names and to copy down the alphabet- most of them were able to finish fairly quickly and they all had very good handwriting.  So far, so good.

I decided to teach a quick lesson on vowels and consonants and to review vowel sounds and that went well- which told me they know how to behave in a classroom and are willing to listen and learn.  I still had some time left after that so I pulled out my last exercise.  I'd written a bunch of sentences, one for each student, that each had easy, medium, and hard words in them.  Each student got one and I asked them to read their sentence out loud.  Aside from the two students who can't read English, they all read them perfectly.  Only two words were mis-read (antique and cushion).  I told them that they'd been pulling my leg and that I was very impressed with how well they can read.  Really, it knocked my socks off!
  Tonight I'm picking up first and second grade textbooks from the school so that I can get some lesson ideas.  I think I'm going to focus on understanding spoken English and English grammar and sentence structure.  I'd like to try to work in fun things like word finds, cross-word puzzles and Mad-Libs as teaching tools as well.  I'm also thinking of trying to work in reading and discussing the Harry Potter books (male main character, easy to associate with, many may have seen the movie).  We'll see how things go.
  I think the most amazing thing of it was that I wasn't nervous.  I've never really taught before, especially  not English, but my hands didn't shake, my voice didn't shake, and I was able to roll with all the punches.  I've been looking to get involved in something to help out the folks on Ebeye for some time but nothing really seemed to be the right fit, except for this program.  I really hope this works out and I'm looking forward to my next week of teaching.
  If you're interested in learning more about WAM, here's their website:



  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Marshall Islands? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Marshall Islands in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia,39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez


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