Now, for those of you who don't know, Jumpstart is a project that I am executing for the second year in a row here in my site. Its something that I feel very proud of and passionate about. Why?
Well, for a million reasons but mainly...because you can see results.
So often in Peace Corps you are plagued with the omnipresent question of "Am I really making a difference?"
In TEFL (the teaching English program) its often times difficult to see if your efforts are paying off.
"Are the student's improving their English?"
"Is my co-teacher learning anything from me?"
And so on. Most of the time you just have to hope for the best and move on.
This is not the case with Jumpstart.
The month long intensive English camp is designed so that students improve their language skills drastically in one month and its really inspiring to see.
I have a student attending my camp who couldn't respond to the question "how are you?" in English, 22 days ago. Today, she explained her daily routine to me in detail....that to me is astonishing.
Now, this year I have been fortunate enough to have the help of several nearby volunteers and have been able to really round-out my camp. So far I've been able to incorporate lessons on bullying, self-esteem, and setting goals and thinking towards the future, in our new "high school readiness" portion. These "extra" lessons (done in Spanish so the students feel comfortable and get to really grasp the concepts) give the students a way to express their hopes and fears about high school while learning valuable skills to be successful during this transition. I think so often students here are not academically or emotionally prepared for the transition into large overwhelming high schools and this new portion of the camp has really allowed us to address that.
This past Friday I had the pleasure of hosting an English teacher from a nearby high school, a university student who is studying law, and another volunteer as a discussion panel for my students. Students who left the first day of camp without uttering a word because they were so shy, were jumping out of their seats asking questions to our guests. "How do I take the entrance exam to your high school?" "What are the requirements to study at your university?"
And when we asked how many students were planning on attending the University every single one raised their hand. Now that is awesome.
I'm even more excited for this upcoming Monday where we will have about 15 student's from the US Embassy's Access Micro-scholarship Program join our class and help us teach the lesson! These students are in 9th and 10th grade and have been chosen to attend the Access program Saturday's during the school year. They generally have a very high level of English, great grades, and are leaders in their high school. They are going to be great role models for our campers!!
I'll post more after our graduation ceremony on Wednesday!
|Tracing Axel to talk about Body Parts!|
|Daniella is great at modeling!|
|After our fashion show to learn about clothing!|
|Last year's Jumpstart Alum come back to talk about high school!|
|Raising each other's self esteem by writing nice things!|
|Danica has the students walk in each other's shoes before we talk about bullying!|
|learning about professions!|