Since school began after New Years, I have been volunteering one morning a week at the school on the Sakhlin Energy compound.
I go into three different classes and listen to the students read. My first class is the four-five year olds, who are just beginning to read. We read picture books, and practice sounding out words, and talk about how “b” and “d” are so tricky, always pretending to be each other like naughty twins.
Next are the oldest class, the twelve year olds. they are reading interesting books, and are fun to be with. For many of these students, English is their second or even third language, so that while they may breeze through the sentences and paragraphs, they may not know what the words actually mean. Here, my job is to stop them, and ask questions, and encourage them to create a picture in their minds of what they are reading – and if there are fuzzy bits, go and look up the words.
After recess, I have the nine year olds. Most days, their teacher will send me out with a group of four or five students to read a story or a poem and talk about it. Last week, we read “Gran, Can You Rap?” Great fun.
Today, however, on my way to the staff room at recess time, the assistant headmaster informed me that there would be a fire drill – and I should take a sweater with me to the classroom – unless I wanted to just go home beforehand. I left it up to my class teacher, who reiterated the suggestion of a sweater (jumper to the Brits).
Sure enough, at 11:15, the bell went. We all lined up and down the stairs we went. Here is the class, on the way to the meeting point.
It seemed to take forever, but once we were all safely inside the Rec Center, Stuart told us that everyone had been out of the school in one and a half minutes -after the alarm sounded, and all inside the rec center and accounted for in just over four minutes. I was pretty impressed.
Soon we were back in the classroom, and reading again. I absolutely love my Wednesday mornings at the school, and wouldn’t miss them for anything. Reading is such fun, and I am so lucky to be able to help pass on this love to children.