Saturday, April 13, 2013

My First Class in Teaching US Citizenship

Thursday of this week saw me in a somersault of emotions. I was going to teach my first class in US Citizenship at our local library.

It was not my first try at creating a class, In February I had created the class and hoped to teach it on a Saturday morning. It was not a success, as no-one turned up for the class itself, I would have been alone in the room if a friend hadn't turned up to see how the class went. So in part Thursday had the low of my imagining a repeat, though there were eleven names on the sign-up sheet. I hoped some would arrive.

By the time I got to the library I found my Spanish translator had had an emergency and couldn't attend. My Spanish is non too good, I am afraid. I can just about ask for a beer in Castillian Spanish, Mexican Spanish the common dialect around here is not the same though I can understand conversations by native Spanish speakers here, the tempo is much too fast for me to speak fluently. So knowing the translator was not going to be there sent me into a period of deep questioning.

Luckily the Children's Librarian know's a lot of people who are willing to help at such times and one, a very nice lady was able to step in at just three hours notice. As we began to prepare the room for the class, people began to come in. So I used the time to say hello and find some basic information from some. In the end the class numbered some thirteen persons.

It is at those times I don't mind being blind. Being in a room full of people and being up front talking used to terrify me. Since going blind my nerves have disappeared on that point.

I checked with how my new translator liked to work. :Just two or three sentences at a time." she told me.

Then the class was on. The first portion I introduced the subject, what we will look at in the coming weeks and my own experience of the citizenship process. From there I opened the first class to questions. I really wanted to learn what they expected from me. There was a little pause at first, a pause long enough to make the butterflies in my belly churn. Then a question. This question built into a discussion with the class, because it was a good open and non specific one for the person asking it. This led to another then several more and in what seemed like no time at all people were telling me of previous classes and what they had found to be problems. Great for me. I know the pitfalls to avoid if I can.

The evening ended with lots of people coming to shake my hand. At that point I was on a high point. No sleep for me Thursday night. This teaching thing is so energizing. I still feel somewhat on a high from Thursday.

Looking forward to next Thursday now, the real teaching part will begin then. Wish me luck.