Mid February my Community Based Training (CBT) group started teaching more formal English classes at the dar shebab (youth center) and nadi neswi (women’s club). Upon our arrival in January we visited the public mederesa (school), which is close to the youth center, and observed English classes. Then we held activities for children and informal English classes.
School in Morocco generally starts at 8am and runs until 12 or 12:30pm and then students go home for lunch and return to school at 2:30pm and finish at 6. In Morocco, students begin taking French in elementary school and choose Spanish or English in middle school which they continue in high school. They have classes twice a week for 2 hours at the middle school and high school in my CBT community. The classes are over 50 students! We had an English placement test for English classes and students in the same grade and class were at different levels.
I’ve been leading a Beginners Mid class at the dar shebab and my students are in the 11th or 12th grade twice a week for 1 hour. The first day I had 8 students and the next couple of days 20! They told their friends about it. I am glad to have a larger class though I prefer a smaller class in order to give each student individual attention. There is an equal amount of boys and girls. All of the youth are nice and well behaved. I’ve been focusing on conversation topics like greetings, family, hobbies, and school at their request.
For my family lesson I drew my family tree and showed them photos of my family in the USA and Spain. They really enjoyed looking at photos. I also got to see some photos of their families. This cultural exchange, about first and last names in the US, Spain, and Morocco and their meanings, family size, and roles and responsibilities (according to gender and age) was really exciting. I am the first American my students have met. They get their information about the USA from the TV, which I don’t think is always correct so I am happy to break some of those stereotypes and expand their worldview.
For my next lesson, on daily activities, I am going to show them photos of my elementary, middle school, and high school, typical American breakfasts and school lunches, and a yellow school bus. I took a yellow school bus everyday in Williamstown, MA! In Morocco, they don’t have yellow school buses. I actually asked my mom to photograph some of these things in Williamstown.
I’ve also attended more trainings in Meknes about safety and security, teaching, and monitoring and reporting, which have been thorough. Peace Corps is providing us Peace Corps Trainees lots of great resources for when we get to our permanent site.
I’ve also been observed teaching a couple of times, written a couple of essays on cultural issues and current and future activities, clubs, and projects and monitoring and evaluating them, and will give a presentation as part of the Pre-Service Training (PST) with my CBT group. I have received feedback from my LCF and Peace Corps staff which has been helpful. In a month, I will finish PST and be sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer. I will definitely miss my English classes. My students are really nice and eager to learn English and about the USA.