Sunday, October 24, 2010

Service Learning: Week 8 - Toleration and Acceptance

Working in Sao Mai, there has been many ups and downs. I think in my own ways that I have become more tolerant and accepted of this place. Starting out, I had this feeling that there would be some way to contribute more in the classrooms and with the children. However, coming there I realized that there was not much I could contribute to the school, or at least in the same way as I had hoped. Working there for over 2 months now, I have become more tolerant and accepted within Sao Mai and of Sao Mai. I have come to realize that a lot of the procedures and practices of the classroom, that I use to not like, such as yelling at the kids and hitting them, or the way they teach things here, that I have grown to accept and understand their practices and teachings. I have come to understand why the handle the kids the way that the do. When the teachers yell at them, it isn't to be mean or out of frustration and anger necessarily, but when raising their voices, it gets the children attention more and when they talk like that, the children listen. So now, when I walk into the classrooms, I no longer have this strange feeling as to why the teachers are treating the children this way or in this teaching method. Being there over the past 2 months I have observed and come to understand their teaching methods and have accepted them. Sao Mai is a very organized school with already so many things such as financial support since I saw one of the patrons coming into class the other day asking the teachers if they had met their "p3 level" or something like that. I asked the teachers who he was and they said that he was one of the patrons and the one that sort of started and gave Sao Mai it's curriculum. I realize that the practices of Sao Mai have been established for such a long time and that if there was something ultimately wrong about it, or that the teachings weren't helpful to the students, then the school and all of the other schools in the districts would probably be shut down already. Therefore, I think that I have come to accept that Sao Mai as an efficient school and that it has to be doing things right if the school has been going on for a while and has many family who wants to send their children there.

I have also accepted my part in Sao Mai as well. When I come to volunteer, I know that my presence helps in watching over the children and doing little errands for them such as setting up tables and cleaning up. It isn't a lot of hard work or some great contribution on my part, but it is helpful in the classroom. I now mostly enjoy coming to class just to see the children and teacher and watching their progress on a weekly basis. I like to see the children who when I first came to volunteer that they couldn't say anything and now they are sounding out sounds and some of them even words. It is nice to see the teachers and children and just talk and interact with them. In doing this, I have accepted Sao Mai and I think the teachers have accepted me.

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