…I went to a homework help session in Antonio Raimondi, although Wednesday is usually my day off. I went after practicing my violin at the music school (some European music for the orchestra, then Peruvian music, plus sight reading a contemporary Brazilian piece a friend handed me). 🙂 Viva la música.
Two days prior, on Monday Silvia and Edgar (sister and brother in Grade 4) arrived for the very first time, needing some help with multiplication. Shy and attentive, they each managed to fill in a blank chart of the time tables, up to 12 X 12, with help from each other (and myself when necessary). They knew more than they thought they did. Then they began colouring their individual charts and at the end of the session they promised they would come to Wednesday’s session and we gave each other the usual hasta luego kiss on the cheek before departing. [How would it be possible to not love my job? Each time I arrive at a session, it just takes one kid to notice that I have arrived to almost instantaneously get a mini-swarm of kids coming up to hug and kiss me saying: “Buenas tardes, profesora Ciera“, “Hola, maestra Ciera“, “Hola, señorita Ciera“. It takes about two minutes to receive/give my hugs and kisses and then we all settle down to get to work.]
Project Chiclayo is just as much about teaching good values and life skills as it is as teaching ‘practical’ skills. By chance, I also met the mother of Silvia and Edgar yesterday morning after offering my second English class with older kids in Raymondi; she was helping prepare the meal for the lunch nutrition program. I heard yesterday all the kids in Raimondi have enough iron intake to be declared anemia-free! I told the mother of Silvia and Edgar that her children would benefit from attending the free sessions and she assured me they would. (Side note: February 17 2021: Silvia and I have been chatting on Facebook chat in the last days. I saw her in May 2019 when I visited. She is still studying and plays volleyball in the afternoons. Technology is incredible).
Attend they did (on Wednesday), with muchas ganas (lots of enthusiam)… and homework to reduce fractions to the lowest common denominator (LCD), tricky when one does not know basic multiplication. With Silvia on my right and Edgar on my left, we first reviewed some times tables, orally and with some simple written questions. Then, although they looked quite terrified at first, I walked them through the steps to reduce a set of fractions to the LCD using two examples. [Another reason I love my job: I get to renew my math skills. It is especially good to recall how to do high school level math, to know that while it didn’t serve me outside of my uni economics courses, it is serving me now. Matemática en español es divertido and terminology is a fun treat for my brain–it takes me back to my exchange year in a Mexican high school.
Next, I told Silvia and Edgar to take a break to finish colouring their times tables charts. And then little Christopher, son of another local mother, appeared in the middle of Silvia and I, asking for help with his English vocabulary (family and body parts). His excellent memory and adorable smile were a delight. Then I helped Silvia and Edgar each individually work through reducing two sets of fractions, using their times tables charts. They realized that it was just a matter of working through the steps. They finished with the correct LCDs and a lot of relief! Silvia begged for me to write more multiplication questions in her notebook as homework. (Really? Really.) And of course, then Edgar begged me for some, too. Kids ❤
I wish I had had my camera to take a picture of them with their rainbow-coloured times tables charts. They were proud of them. And promised to stick them to their bedroom wall to review their times tables.
* * *
Below is my lovely co-teacher, Bety, an elementary/high school math teacher working with Centro Esperanza for almost three years now. I took this picture during the homework help session with the older students on Monday morning; Bety is helping Janet, on the left, and Isabella, on the right.
The building the sessions are run out of:
The view from outside the door to the street (behind the building you see in the previous picture). I love the urban garden scene in the district of La Victoria, unique in that residents make the most of the few square metres of land in front of their homes to plant flowers, fruits and vegetables.