Even though we’ve only been here for the past 2 weeks, we can with absolute certainty say that this week will be one of the best weeks of this 5 week program. We both were nervous and apprehensive about teaching kids. We both believe in only working in places we have the skill to do so and not ever over stepping our boundaries when it comes to working abroad with NGOs. Love The Oceans have a really incredible 1 week teaching week within their program. The aim of the week is to go into two schools in the area Paindane and Guinjata primary school; within these schools we taught 5 classes, aspects of geography that isn’t covered in the curriculum. This ranged from continents and oceans all the way to the importance of food webs in our world. The beauty of this program is that we got to structure the lessons exactly the way we want to which
gave us creative freedom and allowed us to try and instil the passion we have for the ocean to the kids.
Another part of the Love The Oceans program is to help improve the aesthetics of the school. There is a bit of exterior work to be done, however that job is contracted out to local builders as we can barely keep the varnish on the walls (Nicole wants everyone to know that she knows how to use to screwdriver). Importantly, we love that about this NGO, they fund so many projects and constantly add jobs into the community. The most important person in the teaching week is definitely our translator and just incredible person Pascal. Pascal started in the dive centre but then slowly started working for Love The Oceans as their translator and in country representative. We’re both slightly obsessed with him, he has the best personality, always happy, always welcoming and
just so incredibly smart. He’s currently working on also getting a teaching qualification for swimming. What we loved about him the most was the way he was with the kids. He was so good at getting them excited and always found a smart way to translate what we wanted to teach. It was honestly such a pleasure to work with him, his mind was creative and innovative that when we just taught facts, he’d find a way to truly engage them. We’re sure he has an amazing future ahead of him and we’re both excited to join him again when we teach swimming lessons to the kids.
So when we were in the schools we started with the basics and every day we would build upon what we taught the day before. Our aim was to teach the kids about the continents, the oceans, the animals on the land and in the sea, as well as how that all links to together, emphasising sustainability and our individual parts in the world. On day 3 three we talked specifically about the marine life in the Indian ocean, we thought the best way to get them excited about this was to show them a go pro video of our incredible dive the weekend before, we were both actually in the videos so we thought it would be nice for the kids to see these animals in a different light. Their reactions
were stunning, they were blown away by the video and reacted with a “woaaaaah” when they realised it was us swimming with the fishes. We both definitely felt fortunate to be part of that experience with them. It was incredible that when we asked the kids what they loved about our lessons their answers varied from learning about the animals to learning that garbage in the oceans is dangerous and more importantly that if lots of fish or sharks are caught, it is very bad because it will eventually limit the stocks in the ocean.
What we both enjoyed the most about the lessons was seeing some of the kids grow in confidence and passion for what we were teaching. One guy that stands out to us was a boy named Samuel. Our first lesson he came in with his earphones on and we joked that he was the boy who was too cool for school. As the week went on he started sitting towards the front of the class telling the other kids to stop talking and answering all our questions. You could really see how interested he was, especially when we were talking about food webs and the impacts of fishing. He was the boy who told us that he loved our lessons because we taught him about what is good to fish and what isn’t, mentioning that it could mean they would have no fish to eat or sell and that tourists would stop visiting.
As well as Samuel there was Gildo, Bernado, Germias, Luisa, Edmilson, Dilson, Wilson, Nucha and so many other kids in the classes that just looked so happy to see us and so
engaged and excited about what we were teaching. It was especially heartwarming when we saw two of the kids on the beach and they asked us to come back and teach them.
As we’re writing this we’re both getting some separation anxiety because we genuinely fell for a lot of those kids. They have an attitude that people of all ages should admire and aspire to have. They were kind, helpful, caring, funny, they never moaned, were positive all the time and were genuinely beautiful souls. We both wish them all the best of luck.
Teaching week was quite memorable for our volunteers! Nicole and Farin took on quite the challenge, teaching the local school children about geography, and the flora and fauna seen around the globe! By the end of the week, they were delving into local marine food webs and had their students reflecting on how the removal of top apex predators (sharks!) would drastically alter these food chains. While getting connected to the local community, the volunteers were also able to improve their Portuguese (with much help from Pascal). The week was exhausting, but equally rewarding. Farin is already missing the students, and Nicole definitely found her knack for varnishing! We are all looking forward to a relaxing weekend now, before jumping back into the field to collect fisheries and coral reef data!