Everyone survived orientation. Admittedly they scared the crap out of us the first couple of days. I like to think it was for our own good, but I think they got some entertainment out of it too (hey, why not I probably would have done the same). Some days felt exceedingly long. However, I am amazed at how much information the field directors were able to squeeze into 10 days.
We got to do fun things like tour Quito, the Guayasamin Museum and take a salsa dancing lesson. We also managed learn a lot about things like culture, ESL students, lesson planning, health and safety. I did like that instead of long lectures by the same people everyday, they mixed it up with guest speakers and interactive sessions that illustrated games to play with students. Who doesn’t like playing with balloons and spit balls?
Friday, after finishing orientation we had a little free time before a group dinner. Most of us checked email, then headed out to happy hour. There are some really good happy hour specials in Quito. Then we went a group dinner with field directors. Pizza, wine, beer and good company. It was a great way to wrap up a long ten days. Orientation felt long but was practical. I guess the real test will be when we are in the classroom. Thanks Kate, Tara and Lee!
Today was “Health Day.” A nurse, who spent something like 20 years working as a nurse for the Peace Corps, came to talk to us about trying to stay healthy in Ecuador. Well getting sick sounds inevitable, I hope following he precautions help.
That was followed up by a brief talk about what our insurance will and will not cover. It sounds like mostly the latter. Then we played Jeopardy to review it all. How can you not love categories like Poop, Puke & Piss and Diseases you might get in Ecuador?
For lunch we were broken into groups and went with a current year-long volunteer living in Quito. It was the same soup, rice and chicken. The volunteer we ate with had just been robbed twice the week before, but still loves it here. I guess that is promising.
In the afternoon, we covered some class room management techniques. Then we had an awesome session about teaching in the target language. Ellah, a WorldTeach volunteer since 2010 I believe, came in speaking nothing but Hebrew. First, we learned to say “What is your name?” and “My name is…” Then we added he and she. After that she had us all stand up and file into three lines. We played a little game like Simon Says learning left, right, forward and back. Then had to guide two people through a maze of tables. It was incredible. Especially, since we are likely walking into classes where our students speak little to no English and I speak little to no Spanish.