We recently started teaching English in the Brazilian prison. Luckily, we have eleven very enthusiastic and dedicated students who are learning verbs like “to be” and “to have.” They are also learning new vocabulary like Autumn, tonight, and season.
The second half of our class is normally dedicated to reading a short passage or story. We are trying to add some American culture into the reading so this week’s passages was about Baseball and the World Series. (I’ve attached the lesson for you to read.)
We sometimes forget how complicated the rules of baseball are for someone who did not grow up with the sport. So trying to explain the rules of baseball to our students in our broken Portuguese is not so easy. Fortunately, one of our students asked me who my favorite team was. Of course that led to an immediate answer of the “Chicago Cubs.” This was much easier to explain in Portuguese.
Unfortunately, I used the lesson to give a short history of the Chicago Cubs too. And when I wrote the year “1908” on the white board as the year the Cubs last won the World Series, there was much laughter and a loud “Nossa” from the group. (Nossa is the Portuguese word for Wow!) One student commented that that was 108 years ago. Even in my poor Portuguese I could recognize that remark! So there are now eleven Brazilian Prisoners in Såo Paulo who are rooting for the Cubs to win the World Series this week.
Our English class is only an hour long, once a week, but it give our students a short time out of the cell block, in a productive setting, and a way to improve their communication skills and more importantly their self confidence. We hope our lesson will provide them with a new way of understanding their own potential and how to be “especial.”