Friday, June 22, 2012


We continued classes in Teaching English.  Two of the volunteers have education degrees and I am a trained teacher, but the other four are mostly new college graduates.  Two people from the Peace Corps in Panama came to talk to us about their education programs.  The Panamanian government wants American teachers to teach alongside Panamanian teachers and show them different ways to teach besides just copying and memorizing.  I don't think this will go over well if they are putting American new grads in with longstanding teachers.  At least the Peace Corps volunteers get six months of training first.

We are meeting every day at the Universidad Technologica, which is a 1 1/2 to 2 hour bus ride from the Multicentro mall, depending on time of day.  There are three former WorldTeach volunteers who are still living and working in Panama City.   One of them, Jenny, offered to give us a lift to school every morning.  It is about 45 minutes by car, so it is great for us.  She was a lawyer in the United States and decided to give up her house and job and come to Panama and help by volunteering to teach English and whatever.  I really have to admire her guts in driving in this city!.  There are hardly any street signs so I rarely know where I am or where I am going.  I learned one bus route (there is no written schedule) and how to get to the two malls and Casco Viejo by foot.  Otherwise I have not seen much.

Former WorldTeach volunteers were home in the US a few weeks before deciding to come back to Panama and get jobs

Current voluneers teach a class

Waiting for the bus at Albrook station

We have been observing classes of high school and college English and have team taught some classes when teachers are absent.  The classes are three hours long, so I don't know how the students stand it.  We try to keep things interesting by doing lots of educational games and getting the kids out of their seats at times.  The high school kids all wear uniforms with white shirts and blue skirts/pants and ties.  The college kids dress really grungy all the way to perfect suits, hair, and nails.  The teachers are required to wear professional dress, including closed toe shoes.  Not the easiest thing to do in a tropical climate.  Africa was very pleasant compared to this.  I stopped wearing face cream because I didn't like putting it on when my face was already wet with sweat.  Most everything in Panama City is air conditioned, including the buses, but you can't avoid being outside sometimes.

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