For an extra credit opportunity, I went to Mr. Engelhorn's classroom at the high school and worked with students in his Spanish 1 class. My role was to give oral examinations to the students. These examinations consisted of approximately 10 questions that I asked each student. Since this is the first semester of Spanish class ever for most students, the questions were relatively simple, such as "When is your birthday?" and "How old are you?" While some students answered these questions without any hesitation, others struggled with using the correct conjugations of the verbs and using a complete sentence structure when replying to the question. Obviously, this resulted in a deduction of points on the assessment, and some students performed so poorly that they need to retake the exam. Overall, I enjoyed my time working with the students, especially the ones that should interest and passion in learning the Spanish language.
Today we didn't go to the holiday party but went traying instead. After a few failed attempts on Old Main, we went over near Uhler and had more success. After that, the boys wanted a challenge so we went to the Complex hill. There was a small jump there someone had made that made our traying so much more entertaining, exciting and fun.
For this service, I helped Profe Englehorn with giving oral exams to Spanish 2 students. I started my trip to the high school by standing in front of the class, allowing them to ask me their questions about myself. I also asked the students questions about themselves, and followed the guide for their oral exam. After they had their chance to ask me the questions, I went out into the hallway to give the exams. I had a sheet to follow, and asked them their questions. There was thirteen questions. For seven, I asked them the questions in Spanish, two-three, I asked them how to say something in Spanish, and then they asked me three questions.
Today, I began by assisting a teenage girl with her science homework. We went through a reading together and then looked for the answers to a couple questions on the next page. She was good at reading and a quick learner, and seemed to appreciate my help. Next, I worked on very basic pronunciation of syllables and short words with an older woman. Over the course of the session, I could see her start to remember more of the sounds and recognize more of the symbols, and it was really cool to see her increased confidence. In these scenarios when the vocabulary you have to interact with another human being is greatly reduced, it is interesting to see what you can still relate on, and funny how a little humor often goes a long way towards developing a friendly rapport with the person.
I initially thought that each of the tutoring sessions would involve teaching English to Spanish speakers, and my favorite day was when I did get to utilize my Spanish when working with a woman who came in. However, I still enjoyed the assistance I was able to give to give to the people who came in. I love widening my perspective by interacting with people of different cultures who think in different ways than me, and though most of the conversations were limited to academic work, I still feel that this experience was beneficial to all involved parties. One of the things that struck me most about this experience was how difficult and isolated life in America must be for these people who don't yet have a good grasp of our language, I will have much more empathy for their plight in the future. I also think the program we were a part of that supplies this assistance to these people is very important, as a baseline level of education is a requirement for a fully functioning and productive citizen, not to mention an invaluable part of personal individuation. As for how this experience has impacted the way I view my own culture, it made me think about the way that I use language and how much words, the vehicles of meaning that they are, are just arbitrary noises we make with our mouths to communicate with other humans.
Going into the community service program I had no idea what to expect because I never really volunteered volunteered in the educational department helping people understand a lecture better or just helping out with a class in general. Nonetheless I figure this voluntary experience was going to involve me breaking down the complex ideas presented to the students in a much simpler manner. WIth that idea in mind, I thought this volunteer experience was going to be a long tedious process because of the responsibilities that comes with it. However, this volunteer experience has been one of the greatest experiences of my life because I had the opportunity to share and experience various different cultures specifically of the somali and hispanic community. The different interactions i encountered with these group of people were priceless. I experience various aspect of their culture through their language, food, and through discussions of their cultural beliefs. One of the biggest lessons both cultures thought me was the act of inclusion or togetherness. The bond these two cultures share with their family is so great that it reflects upon those who are not family. I was quite intimidated at the beginning of this volunteer journey because I was concerned about what these students will think of me. However, they were the most welcoming group I've ever interacted with. Right on the first day, they introduced themselves and started asking me personal questions to further expresses their interest in me. I got so close with these groups of people that I felt like they were apart of my family. Another big lessons i learn from these unique group of people is to be humble and never give up on my dreams. Despite the ages and responsibilities of these adults, they are humble enough to still take time money and effort to get educated which shows how much education means to them. Overall, i'm very privileged to have this opportunity because I was able to learn cherishable life lessons and skills that would be of use for the rest of my life.
For my last day here, the students were given a packet to work on about all of the Christmas time activities in a different Spanish speaking country. They had to fill out a chart with all of the practices, traditions, and foods, for the celebrations on each day. I helped walk around to answer any questions. I didn't really like particularly these as a student, but I recognize now that it's so important to educate my future students on the culture in other Spanish speaking countries, and the students didn't seem to mind it, so holidays are a great opportunity for this.
helped students with their assessment of knowledge with vocabulary and their comprehension of learning throughout their day at the middle school - we had a lesson on what types of clothing a person wears for each season and what holidays are usually celebrated around this time (the winter solstice).
This experience enabled me to observe my own culture because I realized a lot of things I take fro granted. I was lucky to grow up speaking english because it is actually a pretty hard language to understand. I didn't realize this until I had to help the kids understand words. Words like know and encounter are very hard to explain. These kids are learning a lot while still doing other classes. There wasn't a particular experience where I had to think critically, but there were a few times I had to problem solve quick and use hand movements to explain words meanings.This was a great experience and I learned a lot!