I have a new English class at a school in St.Petersburg. I've never taught at a regular school before, but they said that many of the kids there are orphans and/or have developmental delays, and that is something close to my heart.
The other day Sara and I went to the school for the first time to get acquainted. First we were ushered around to meet various administrators. They were so welcoming and genuinely happy that we had come! After settling on a schedule, we were led to a classroom. The teachers were saying that we had come too late because most of the kids had left for the weekend, but they went to gather the ones who were still around. First about 5 kids showed up, and that seemed manageable. We started introductions. Then 10 more came in. Finally we had about 20 kids. I initially panicked, not knowing what to do with 20 kids ranging in age from 6-16 and all with some unknown level of English. It turned out that most of them had about 0 conversational skills, but presumably know some grammar and vocabulary. Sara and I modeled a simple dialogue and had them try it. Then we played a game to practice numbers.
As usual I felt like I was a mean teacher because I made the kids talk (and by that I mean having them say their names and ages, letting them say it in Russian first). Some of them seemed on the verge of tears. But when it was time to go they seemed disappointed. When the teachers asked if they would like to see us again, they said "YES!"
We returned to the principal's office, where we met the former principal too. The ladies gave us kisses and candies and wrote out directions for us in order to find them next time.
Sometimes the adults in schools and orphanages can be hostile if they don't know you personally. But the Holy Spirit brings understanding and helps them see that we genuinely love the kids (even without having met them) and have come to help.
In other news, Vince the sock-puppet has lost his nose. :(