September 5, 2016

Flying Nuns

The past several months, I have been volunteering once or twice a week to work with children in an after/before school care facility run by a group of nuns. On occasion, I bring my kids if they don't have school or I'm there in the afternoon. Brazilian schools typically run a morning group of kids and an afternoon group of kids. Each session is about 5 hours long. So the nuns have activities and programs in the morning and then lunch for afternoon school kids and lunch and the same but opposite for the morning school kids. I teach them English.

There are a lot of kids! Close to a hundred, I think. To help me learn their names, I mimicked what one of my college professors did on my first day of class. He lined us up in the front of the board, had us write our names on it and then stand under our names. Then he took a photo, had it developed after class, and then over the next few days, he memorized everyone's names. Truly brilliant. I loved that he called on me by name in class...not very many college professors can do that.


 Well, my efforts are not as hard core as my professor, but I do have quite a few of the names down. Some of the names are familiar to me and some are a little different. Juscineia is one of the more unusual ones...it seriously took me 3 months to get that down. She's awesome so I have a bit of motivation to remember. 

Sometimes, I get frustrated with my students. I think I'm giving them a valuable and marketable skill with my classes and hopefully a leg up in future life...but they remind me of my children who are more interested in goofing around than having class. One group is doing really well, though. We split it in half - girls/boys and now there is a lot more participation and speaking happening. I like smaller groups no larger than 6 or 7.

My Portuguese language skills are slowly improving. The people who I really want to talk to are the nuns...and I'm so frustrated with my inability to do that. In addition to the twice a week group classes that I've been taking since February, I've added two different one-on-one teachers this month. And I'm making a point to be more vocal and practice speaking.

I don't really know anything about the children's home that I volunteer in. Originally, I thought it was an orphanage. And while they do have a handful of teens that live there, the vast majority don't. I realized that on Mother's day when they were making cards for their moms. 

Sometimes people leave their non-slip socks at the trampoline park. Tymon brings them home to me and I wash them. Last Monday, a day when the park is usually closed, the kids from the children's home came to the park on a field trip and we were able to use approximately 80 pair. Three of our kind-hearted employees volunteered their time to come and help supervise them. Plus a couple of the nuns and also a handful of other adults who helped transport all of them.


They loved it. And Tymon loved holding hands with one of the nuns...he helped steady her on the slack line. Ha ha. He made sure I got a photo of it. Like anyone would believe he's held hands with a nun...or that both of them kissed him (on the cheek) when we left.


This video reminds me of The Flying Nun. Except no special effects (aside from slow mo) are used.



These nuns are pretty cool. Last June the PE teacher brought in skate boards for a week...and these beautiful ladies got right on them. I think I just like to imagine nuns being straight-laced. But in reality they are people who like to break up the monotony of the day doing fun stuff.



 
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