Roxanna seemed transformed today. During the last two weeks of teacher/mentor training she was serious and quiet, concentrating and applying herself to the lessons. Her soberness softened only when she mastered a task and then beamed with earned self-accomplishment. But today she was radiant. She had prepared well for the lesson and oozed confidence smiling and engaging the children. That was the key – the way she engaged. She didn’t just instruct but led the children through the lesson by urging and inviting their participation with questions and prodding. She overlooked no one in the class.

With everyone working on the XOs, now the playing field is leveled. Roxanna walked around carrying the XO so that everyone could read and see the scripts. She demonstrated by showing her own work on the lesson from the class with Bill and invited the other mentors to do the same. The children then set to work on their own.

The mentor/student ratio is a real plus. Two of the children were absent today and that allowed for a 5 to 1 ratio. This plus the fact that the students who complete the task and “get it” also act as “junior mentors” means that everyone is getting the attention they need to get through each step. Roxanna’s enthusiasm was catching and the atmosphere was both involved and upbeat. The children applauded her at the end of the class.

As we met to discuss tomorrows lesson David commented on how it would be hard to match her poise and self-assurance. Marcial was very proud. He is spending time reviewing the lessons and trying to work through them along with the children. I am impressed by this display of initiative. Geovany stepped up to take on the class tomorrow, as Patrick didn’t feel that he had grasped the lesson well enough at this point to lead it. Geovany expressed some concern and, questioning him, he admitted that he really wanted to teach lesson 15, animation. “I just love that stuff,” he said. We all had a laugh at this and assured him he could teach both and he smiled broadly. We reviewed tomorrow’s lesson together and then checked in on the children who were ready to shut down. The boys were anxious to start a game of football in the courtyard. The girls rushed off to the broken down classroom where bicycles are stashed during class and began a game similar to musical chairs that elicits screeches and howls of delight.

As we were all readying to leave, everyone complimented Roxanna once again. As she donned her helmet to scoot away on her motorbike, her eyes sparkled with pleasure and gratitude. I felt confident that the days ahead would hold many more individual and group rewards.

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