Volunteering at School

By: Kristy Yokeley
While here in El Salvador, I have been volunteering in a local school, Colegio Claudia Lars. The students ages range from 6 to 12. Our typical day there goes from 8 to 11:30am. I was nervous because I knew no one and I could not speak Spanish very well. When we walked into the school all the teachers were eager to show us around. The kids looked at us then turned and whispered to each other. As we entered each classroom we were greeted with "good-morning, how are you?"

As the morning went on we sat in classes and observed. We sat in a social studies class where they were learning about the Pan-American highway and modes of transportation in the U.S., and a science class where they learned about plants. These classes were taught in Spanish but I could pick out some of the words on the board.  The students helped me a lot. Next was English class. The students asked us questions in English as well as using songs to help them learn. All the rooms have learning aids both in Spanish and English.

At break time I had a chance to talk to some of the kids. I could say a few Spanish words and they could say a few English words.  This made for interesting conversation. I asked them what their names were and they would reply and laugh. The two words they most enjoy saying in English are "hello" and "good bye". I had to ask many times how to say something and they would laugh and repeat it slower until I understood.

It is interesting to see how the classes aren't extremely structured but they still flow well. The students are encouraged to ask questions and dialogue. The teachers care about the students and the students enjoy coming to school.

Helping at this school made me think of the many kids who do not go to school. Do they have social interaction with other kids? Going to school for most of us was the place where we learned how to interact with others and grow in relationships. Do children who don't have the opportunity to go to school have less or more self-esteem? Can they afford to go to school? Do they walk or ride the bus?  I found myself asking where I would be if I had stopped learning? With all my questions, there is one thing I know: No matter if you're young or old, every person deserves an education.