Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The day after my impromtu class at the Biblioteca Jorge Barbosa (the library is after my great great grandfather Jorge Barbosa who was a famous Cape Verdean poet), I had my first class at Castelos do Sal. ((This was last Thursday, July, 19))

Castelos do Sal is an organization whose goal is to take kids off the streets and give them a place to play, learn, and gain opportunities they may not have otherwise. They provide food and medicine to the kids, and keep them active both mentally and physically. Currently, they have 54 kids participating in the program, and there are even more on the waiting list.

They have a really lovely space with a courtyard and two classrooms, which from what I've seen, they use to the fullest.

Anyways, I showed up to Castelos do Sal, accompanied by Maya, a bit before 2:30pm which is when my class was supposed to start. A few days before I had spoken to Alexandra, the vice-president of the organization, and we had agreed that I would go to Castelos every Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:30 to 4:30.

I decided that I wanted to start my first class with something fun, like... animals! Knowing I had two hours of teaching to do, I planned a lot of fun activities. We were going to play duck, duck, goose, and pop goes the weasel, and sing songs like itsy bitsy spider and so on.

However, when I got to Castelos de Sal, one of the workers, Felipe, informs me that Alexandra forgot that the kids have a capoeira class at 4, so my 2 hour class became more of a little bit over an hour class.

But, hey, no problem. I did my best to adapt, cut out a bunch of the activities, while still making sure that the core of the lesson was still intact and that the kids would still have fun. I even had to adapt even more as I noticed the one girl in my class had a hurt knee, so running around yelling "GOOOOSE" was no longer an option.

My lesson ended up consisting of teaching the kids animals from flashcards I printed out and having them make loud animal noises and guessing animals from the noises. I had a few too many cards for the time decreased time I had, so it was a bit to get all the names to stick.

Still, it was fun trying. I told them that snakes go "ssssssssssss" which is in their name "sssssssssnaaaake" which amused them. And, the little girl, Wendy, really liked singing and motioning the itsy bitsy spider.

I had some trouble engaging a boy in the group that was much older than the rest of the group. He was about 13, while the others were from 6-10 or so. It also didn't help that in the middle of class occasionally a kid was taken out to go brush his teeth, just another disorienting factor to make things tougher than they needed to be.

Overall, the class went well. Especially when I realized I could bribe the kids with the flashcards as reference material while they were drawing.

But, what I really enjoyed from that day was the time I got with the kids after class. My aunt Kiki called me saying she would be late to pick me up. So Maya and I stayed to watch the capoeira class and play with the kids in the time before it.

One little boy,Rafael, who had not been in my class decided that I should try to guess everyone's name and age, including his mother ((I said she was 119, he was really shocked at this and told me "No way!!")) and other family members.Wendy taught me a clapping game. And all the kids played the "guess Filipa's age" game.

I definitely prefer being their playmate to being their teacher. My goal is find a good balance between the two, but that will only come with lots of practice and experimentation. :)

I have posts in the works for the past few days as well. It's just been tough getting time to sit and type!
Hopefully I'll be able to get them done soon and catch up to current teaching time xD

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"I am from Cabo Verde"

Today, I gave the most impromptu class I have ever given.

I'm currently in Sal, Cape Verde. I came here for vacationing, and volunteer work as an English teacher, because, frankly, I need the experience. Plus, I have fun teaching! This basically serves as an opportunity that will beneficial to me and also to those I teach.

The groups I am working with are groups that usually get neglected, or don't have the resources to get English classes. And getting a basic knowledge in another language, like English, is really important in a developing country like Cape Verde, especially one that is attracting a large tourist market.

I am  mostly going to be teaching young kids that are part of various programs in Sal, designed to keep kids off the streets. They're a mix of kids that spent a lot of time on the streets either because they come from poor families that can't take care of them all them well, or they don't have a home to go to at all. The three programs I'm working for are Nos Kaza, Nos Castelos, and Africa Center 70. I'll write more on them as I go along.

But today, I was at the other end of the spectrum. Today, I was working with the elderly, who don't get nearly enough love as they should. While getting my TEFL Certificate in Madrid last summer, my favourite classes were teaching old ladies.

I'll be honest, I wasn't exactly too prepared going into class today. I was told that the senior group I was to be working with had been taking computer classes at the town library, and my job was to teach them the English tools they need to use the internet well.

I was prepared to give a lesson on emails.

I did not give a lesson on emails.

Apparently, today was just a day for getting the elderly that would be my students all organized. So there were more there than there were computers for. (They're were meant to be split into two groups, so I'll be teaching 2 separate classes each Wednesday)

So, seeing as I couldn't just send them off to computers and go from there I was suddenly given the job of organizing them and finding some way to make the best of hour we had today, while not being able to use anything I was ready for.

What I ended up doing was giving them an improvised lesson on super basic conversational English.

We covered " My name is________"  because I realized I didn't know their names at. And then at someone's request to be able to tell someone their nationality "I am from __________". And then at another's request "What is your name?" because they needed to know what the question was in order to answer it.

It took a while to get through, since all I could do was write the phrases down on pieces of paper and pass them around between the 20 or so students. I waited for them all to get what ever phrase was being passed around written down, which took time since there were only a few papers going around and they didn't have desks to write on, or the best eyesight. But I made my rounds, to check on spelling and pronunciation, all the while smiling and encouraging them. I did also repetitions in group and then individually.

I think each phrase took about 15 minutes to get down. It might have been even longer if there hadn't been a girl that works at the library there to help me out. I was extremely lucky to have her there too, she helped hand out paper, and write the phrases and help some students while I was helping others. Unfortunately, she disappeared quickly after the class was done and I didn't get her name. NEXT TIME!

At then end of the class, I taught them goodbye, and they said thank you, though I never got around to even trying to teach them that. I haphazardly  wrote "good bye" on their papers as they all approached me simultaneously to request it so they knew how to spell it, while reminding them all of the plan for next week.

Overall, it was a chaotic class. But they learnt,I  got over any nervousness I had about starting to teach classes, and we all had a lot of fun.
That's what's really important.

I never did get some of them to say Cabo Verde as Cape Verde though... and honestly, I kinda love that. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you know I have 2 new posts for "For Short" at tapastic. Just clink on the link woohooo

But since one of them is just a silly bonus comic for the weekday, I'm also posting it here :D

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Misadventures of a Short Girl in a Tall World, or For Short

Hello loves!

I've started a brand new shiny webcomic and I would absolutely love it if you checked it out <3 p="">
You can find it here:


Here's a preview: