Published: July 14th 2012July 14th 2012
Here's a traditional classroom... See? Not a whole bunch of space!
One of things I was most interested to find out about when I got to Peru this summer was the differences in classrooms (setup, teacher organization, etc.) and the classroom management techniques.
Last semester I was doing a clinical at Loyola-Fitzgerald in Mankato. This was my first clinical where I had zero access to a SmartBoard. You know what my "technology" was? A marker board, a TV with a VHS player, and an overhead projector. At first, I thought I was going to die. However, I was able to come up with different activities to do because the classroom was huge. I quickly learned that technology isn't "do or die." As long as you have space, almost anything is possible.
Despite this new realization, I was still in for a reality shock when I got to Peru. Not only was I greeted with very little (to no!) technology, I was also greeted with tiny classrooms with very little extra space. The classrooms here have small TVs (about 14 inches) with a DVD player and a marker board. Yep. That's it. It (so far) has made doing supplementary activities very difficult because it's nearly impossible even to do PowerPoints for
Here's another look at the same classroom but from the front.
the students. (There is one projector, but it is shared among all the classrooms and teachers in the school.) There aren't computers in any of the classrooms, so showing YouTube videos or anything like that isn't an option. Music is kind of accessible if you have a cell phone that has Internet on it. The only downfall to this is that it doesn't really get loud enough for all the students to hear.
The teachers here don't have a set classroom that they work in. Instead, the students stay put in a specific classroom, and the teachers move from room to room. (The teachers specialize in a specific area of study and then are assigned a grade level/a few grade levels to teach. For example, Katty teaches English on first and second floor only. Thus, she has to make it to every classroom on these floors five times every week. [The school has it set up so that every classroom has five hours of English every week.]) Because of this, there isn't really a "Teacher's Desk" in any of the classrooms, either. The desk for a teacher is just a student desk, but it faces the classroom instead. On
Value of the Month: Solidarity
Very good, simple way to teach students about values.
these desks, you'll find piles of student workbooks, CDs that accompany the teacher's manual, toilet paper (that's a story for a different time), and hand soap. It's a strange compliation of items. :)
The classrooms here are so small because the only way to build is up. Therefore, the classrooms can't be that big because the buildings are narrow and not too wide. Also, the buildings in this area (Carmen de la Legua, Callao) can't be much taller than about five stories because it's so close to the airport. Once you get outside of this immediate area and closer to Miraflores or Barranco, the buildings get significantly taller. Since the buildings are so tall and narrow, the rooms tend to copy this style. One of the Classrooms I teach in for first grade is long and narrow. Thus, the tables for the students are all in a jagged row, which then end up taking up all the space in the room.
With such little space available to do activities, most of what the students do is seat work. There's TONS of coloring pictures, cutting and gluing (hence the scissor horror stories), and copying from the board. It isn't
Right before we arrived to Peru it was Flag Day.
the most "fun" way of doing things, but who said learning always had to be fun? (This is another topic to be discussed at a later time.)
All I can say is that if any teacher in America complains about the lack of technology or lack of space, I will make him/her get on the next plane to this school to see how privileged the US really is in terms of school space and technology!
Read on in a few days to find out about Teacher's Day, another birthday, and La Marcha, and SHOPPING!