As an gap-year student, my school here had basically no clue what to do with me. I spent the first couple months auditing a bunch of classes that, while interesting (Economics is equal parts wonderful and terrifying; it lures you in with liberal-arts-friendly human behavioral patterns and then BAM. Math.), were basically a review for a test I wasn't going to ever take. So I asked a bunch of people if I could instead read books with kids all day, and they said, sure, we have no idea what you're supposed to be doing here anyway.
The guys pictured pictured below I've been working with the longest. They're known as the 'scholars' because they come from the interior, living and studying at the school on a scholarship.This means that they're wicked smart but not used to learning in all-English, so they get extra ESL classes to bridge the gap.
I spend most of my time asking them what they think of a book, prodding out full sentences and proper grammar. Right now we're reading about the first expeditions to reach the South Pole; it includes such hi-lights as "the dogs were our good friends, and now they are our good food" and disgruntled Englishmen writing letters to their mothers about how disgruntled they are. Riveting stuff. But their commentary makes it entertaining.
In third grade we do lots of writing exercises, they're learning cursive now, a skill whose purpose in 2013 I somewhat question; there's also many new adjectives to be had and the weird rules of English spelling. And they never fail to give me a full report on "Miss, I saw you in the car park" or "Miss, you were in Al Fair the other day," and anywhere else they saw me, so ya know, my heart melts.
In first and second grades it's a lot of controlled chaos and the breaking up of arguments over Justin Beiber's religion, it's one of many hotly debated topics. It's interesting to note how much more Arabic is spoken among the kids in these classes, since about half of the students are just beginning to learn English. I'm happy to report that my Arabic has officially graduated to first-grade level, as I can understand their arguments just fine. Here are some of them, chasing bubbles, because when you're in 1st grade, you get to do that in class.
It's fantastic experience in the realm of figuring-out-what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up. And it's more fun than Economics.