This summer, I volunteered to teach the children of the Syrian refugee camp in Rafid (my town) English. I’ve already volunteered as a Koran teacher at a Koranic summer school last year, and I loved teaching, and being around kids in general.
The Syrian school curriculum doesn’t focus much on English; students learn English but at very low levels. So, refugee students face some difficulty in Lebanese schools.
Since the kids are of varying ages (5-13), I gave two classes, the first for the older kids and the second for the younger ones, three days a week.
When I returned from The Netherlands on July 13, the kids surprised me with a small party they planned. This made me extremely happy, and just thinking of it makes me almost cry.
Another thing that made me especially happy is when I was walking one evening and I passed by the refugee camp and a child I taught (Abdullah, photo below) yelled “Bee! Bee!” (in English). Turns out he was warning me there were bees on the road.
On August 18, we hosted a party to celebrate the end of the course. I made some yummy treats, we watched a short video including photos of the kids during the course, and I handed out gifts and certificates.
Spending time with those kids changed my perspective of so many things. The refugee camp has been near my house for a couple of years now, but I never knew how very in-need they were until this summer. And I never felt like wanting to help those kids and make them happy as badly as I do now.
The kids I taught are gifted students that definitely deserve bright futures and decent lives. One day at the end of June, a 14-year-old boy did not come to class, when I asked about him, his younger brother tells me that he found a job in Alay (a city near Beirut, the capital) and he left to live there with his brother-in-law. “He won’t come back,” he said. “And when my father finds me a job, I will work too.”
I have nothing to say about this except that they do not do not do not deserve this. They deserve so much more.
Angelina Jolie once said: “To actually feel like you’ve done something good with your life and you’re useful to others is what I was always wanting.” And after teaching the kids this summer, I realize that’s what I want, too.
Here’s a list of all the vocabulary and skills the kids learned this summer:
Sounds (short /a/, short /e/, short /i/, /sh/, /th/and /wh/)
Please, sorry and thank you.
Colors (red, blue, green, yellow, pink, purple, brown and orange)
Pronouns (I, she, he, it, we, they and you)
Seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall)
Emotions (sad, happy, mad, scared, tired, proud, surprised and confused)
Wh-words (what, where, why, who, when, how)
Family members (dad, mom, sister, brother, grandmother and grandfather),
Shapes (circle, star, heart)
Contrast words (big/small, tall/short, clean/dirty, cold/hot and fast/slow)
Sight words: in – on – a – an – the – be – no – yes – has – have – see – like – me – at – you – it – but – here – are – is – am – he – she – you – they – we – I – can – and – it – to.
Letter B (bee, ball, box, baby, bus, bike, book, bread, boy, bird)
Letter C (cat, cow, car)
Letter T (tent, train, tooth, tree, tiger)
Letter D (dad, doctor, duck, dog, donkey, door, dice)
Letter S (sun)
Letter M (mom, moon, man, mouth, mouse, milk)
Letter N (nose, nest, nine)
Letter E (ear, Earth, eye, eraser)
Letter P (pig, pan, pot, pen, pencil, pin, plane, pear, peas)
Letter F (fish, fork, flower, frog)
Compound words (Backpack, butterfly, popcorn, toothbrush, basketball…)
Have any teaching/volunteer tips? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂