During my time studying abroad, I was also I volunteering as a english teacher for young children ages from 6 to 13 years old with my job to prepare classes for students every Friday. The organization is called Instituto de la Vivienda (IVC), an organization that brings a lot of help to the community with a mission to provide help to low-income children in a very poor neighborhood. They are given the opportunity to learn English by international students who devoted their time to helping the kids for a semester, located in the villa Fraga of Buenos Aires which started from March 2019.
In the beginning it was very clear that I did not know what I was doing, especially with just a tent and a ball provided and no other instruction. At the beginning of the session, we only had 4 students and towards the end after getting more organized with school supplies to make class more fun and a more creative class we attracted more than 20 students. The director congratulated us for the difference we did in attracting more kids and how much fun we would make class.
Thankfully, I was not alone, there were two other volunteers with me who happen to be in the same classes as me at my University, their names are Jace Haehnlein and Devin Fish. We had several challenges especially because of the increase in children we had and being able to control them (They had way too much energy). Only at the beginning we had to talk to parents about some behavior. But our classes would usually be super fun and organized. We loved the opportunity of taking full responsibility and freedom to make our own decisions on how to teach and what topics to review for the day. What we liked the most would be the kindness and friendship we made with the students, which is something that we will never forget even among ourselves, the volunteers, we have a special experience that we can share.
I learned that although I had never interacted with young children before this semester, I could become very fond of them. I also learned self-confidence in myself especially in an environment that I would never expose myself to teach very young children. I also experienced many challenges such as having no school supplies from the start, planning games and planifications for the week. The most important thing I developed was the creativity of teaching, seeing what worked and what didn’t, but most importantly teaching young children english and making sure we had fun learning.
Since we started IVC, we not only taught them a new language but also another culture like a classic American snacks and games. We prepared Peanut butter jelly Sandwiches which we thought was going to be a big hit, unfortunately the kids did not seem to like the textures of the jelly and peanut butter mixed together in bread (it was not popular and some kids did not want to give it a try). We also played games such as Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Green light yellow light red light, Sally Walker (a classic game we played), Red Rover, Mancala and many others. We also painted and would draw along with english phrases on them which they would take home to practise. At the end, on my last day teaching we made a Halloween party followed with face paintings, games, monster drawings and treat a treating!
I am very glad I did this and got the opportunity to not only take classes abroad but to teach english abroad by spending my fridays helping other children. If any of you are planning on going to University of Belgrano and want to volunteer with IVC, Claudia Soria is the director of this organization (her office is in the 12th floor room 25), and they have many other volunteering options as well. Honestly, volunteering as a teacher abroad was one of my highlights and most unforgettable memories that I will forever cherish.
Attached I have a link on Youtube where u can watch a short video made by us with pictures we took while volunteering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Veh-AeXYz54&feature=youtu.be