First Day of Work!

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As the title suggests, today was my first day of work in the St. Albans Explore Learning center! I went in on Friday to visit the center and get the lay of the land, so today wasn’t as shocking to the system as it might have been if I hadn’t seen “show time” in action yet. In the first half of the day, from 11 am until about 3:30 pm, there are no students in the center (as they’re all in school at that time). Managers use this time to do school visits, have parents’ meetings, make phone calls, basically any general business that needs to get done. This morning we had our managers meeting. These are usually on Tuesdays because all the managers tend to be in the center on this day. I sat and listened as Kat, our center director, went over the duties that the two assistant directors have to do this week. I have to admit, though I absorbed most of it, some of the things they said went right past me. Luckily I’m just in the observation stage, so I’m not really expected to know anything at this point.

After the meeting, Ellie, one of the assistant directors, and I went to an elementary school in a nearby town to give a literacy workshop for a class of “year 5s”, which I believe would make them equivalent to our 4th graders. It was an older school; the classroom didn’t have air conditioning and an upper window was left open for ventilation. The teacher offered us tea, which I accepted, while we waited for her students to come back from an assembly. I’m starting to really like the tea here, which, unless you specify differently, comes only with milk. It’s basically hot, bitter water, but its growing on me.

The workshop went smoothly. It actually was a lot like substitute teaching; the students liked the novelty of having someone new in the classroom so that made some of them interact more, but it also made for a somewhat louder group than what they would have been if their teacher was instructing.

We had a quick lunch afterwards: we ate packed lunches on the computer tables in the center where the kids do their work. Not long after my last bite kids started trickling into the center, and then they weren’t trickling anymore, they were flooding in. Within 20 minutes the center went from quiet to insane. Adding to the chaos, today was the start of new tutor training. The few tutors who I met on Friday knew who I was, but I’m pretty sure that by and large most of the tutors just thought I was a new tutor in for training. Most probably still do, to be honest. I only got to tell a couple of them what I’m actually here for, and some might have inferred from my interaction with kids who were curious about my accent, but most will probably assume I’m a tutor until my name badge comes in or someone tells them differently.

I spent most of show time talking to kids, helping them (as much as I could, not knowing the curriculum or how the programs they use work) and encouraging them. I sat in on some training with some new tutors (perpetuating the assumption that I’m one of them, I’m sure) and did a little bit of independent study and before I knew it the day was over. That’s what’s so great about this job: I’m constantly doing different jobs so not one of them gets too tedious at any given time. No idea what will come tomorrow, but that’s pretty par for the course so far.

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