Kirsty (my partner in a figurative project trust marriage) and I both share a house and a classroom, so at least if one of us has a difficult class, the other can stay and help. The number of classes I have a day can vary from 1 to 6 but the craziness of the kids doesn’t really change from full on crazy! I say that, but they can be really cute, when you don’t spend half an hour trying to get them out of the classroom after class has ended! When you walk down the street or even in the school, you get kids running up to you and clinging to you and hugging you. They always seem so happy to see the ‘Americanas’.
Here in the Dominican Republic, there are four possible nationalities you can be: Dominican, Haitian, American or Chinese. This basically means that if you tell them you are from Northern Ireland, they think it’s a place in America!
School finishes at 4, and after that, we go for a walk around the metro. The metro is a reservoir where the locals farm fish, swim, bathe, and do their laundry, all with an amazing view of the surrounding mountains and sugarcane fields.
I can’t say I’ve improved my Spanish as I didn’t have any when I got here, but in the past eight weeks I’ve come from only being able to say ‘hola’, ‘buenos Dias’, and ‘me llamo Rebecca!’, to being able to teach classes, and have simple conversions!
My first week here consisted of studying Spanish from 9 until 3, everyday in preparation for my first lessons on the following Monday. I was expecting a couple of classes, and had plans for all of them, and scripts for anything I might need to say in the class. I no longer need to script lessons as nearly all my Spanish is geared towards teaching. It’s a huge relief, as my first script took me over an hour to prepare! And even though I only taught one of my four scheduled classes, I was completely exhausted afterwards! The classroom’s fans don’t work so you have to teach in a full classroom of at least 30 kids plus the heat and humidity. Even now, when you haven’t really done anything strenuous all day, you still get incredibly tired by 10 o’clock, and as it gets dark early here, and there’s no TV and often no internet, you just go to bed. As we’ve gotten used to the lifestyle, it’s easier to occupy ourselves in the evenings, which mainly includes going out and socialising or cooking.