Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I made it through the second day

Today has been a much better day. The second day of class was considerably less stressful than the first day. I woke up around 6:30am because I knew there’d be no running water today. That’s okay- more time to sleep. I got my stuff ready, grabbed a hot tamale, and headed off to school. When I arrived I went into the office to check out my day’s schedule. I was right: they did change my schedule to different classes on different days. But I wrote it all down and later someone came by and gave me a printed schedule. It will look something like this:

Time Periods
1. 7:30-8:15
2. 8:25-9:10
3. 9:25-10:10
4. 10:20-11:05
5. 11:15-12:00
6. 1:30-2:15

Monday- X, 3A, 4A, 5A, 5B
Tuesday- 6A, 6B, 3A, 4A, 5A, Lunch, 7C
Wednesday- 5B, 6A, 6B, 3A, 4A
Thursday- X, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B, Lunch, 7C
Friday- 3A, 4A 5A, 5B, 6A

I’m not sure how they picked these times but I figure there must be a reason. I think. My brain hurts right now so I could be wrong.

My first class today was 5th grade, class B with Irma (the teacher). They are a pretty good class and fast learners too. We reviewed what we discussed yesterday. Everything went pretty smoothly. This teacher likes to stay in class and practice with the kids since she has very little English. After class we talked for a while about learning English. She said it was important for the kid’s future to learn English. She said they’d have an easier time getting jobs if they knew English. I said if a person knows English and Spanish in the US they have a better chance at getting a job. Especially because of the increasing Latino population in the US, she said. Then she asked me if I liked pan dulce (sweet bread). After telling her I did she gave me a huge piece. What a thoughtful gesture! I love going to her class.

*Note: All my conversations with the teachers are in Spanish. It’s really been helping me understand native speakers better and improve my vocabulary.

My second class was 6th grade, class A with Carmelita. We reviewed what we did yesterday and all the kids did pretty well. This class is a bit wilder than my first class but nothing terrible. I must have made a good impression on the teachers they first day, because this teacher also offered me food. At the beginning of the class she offered me coffee which I declined because I don’t like coffee. Then she asked if I like oranges. I said yes, thinking she’d offer me one orange. Instead she hands me a bag of 6 oranges. What a sweet woman! The generosity of people here makes my heart melt. Many people go that extra mile to make others feel comfortable and welcome.

After that I headed to 6th grade, class B with Maria. A good class but they like to talk more than other classes. It was this teacher who said yesterday to a kid that if he didn’t want to listen he could leave. Today she told a few kids that others wanted to listen and learn English. If they didn’t want to learn, she said, the door was open for them to leave. And she was dead serious too. Wow! More power to her. They quieted up pretty quickly. I couldn’t help but smile.

My next class was 3rd grade, class A with Melba. This was my first day teaching this class. They were a little slower to catch things than the older classes (probably because it was only their first day) but I noticed immediately that their pronunciation of English words and the alphabet was much better. After class ended several boys escorted me to my next class. One boy carried my water bottle and put his arm around me while another carried my bag of oranges. More boys followed me to my next class. It was pretty darn cute. Then they all said goodbye in English and went back to their classroom.

4th grade, class A with Milagro was my last class of the day. She and I talked a while before class started. She asked if I was staying at the Casa Pastoral (pastoral house) here in Berlín. She said she knew Cecelia because her kids go to school there at the boy’s school. She also asked me if I liked the food. I said I loved the food here, and that seemed to surprise her. I told her about the Salvadoran restaurant that is in Des Moines and that I loved eating there. During class I reviewed yesterday’s material with the kids. When class was almost over I finished what I was writing and went to write more one the board. Then all the kids started saying something. I couldn’t tell what they were saying because they were all talking at once. The teacher told me class was almost over. I have no idea how they knew class was almost over. None of them have watches and there’s no clock in the class. I think all kids must have some sort of internal clock that lets them know when class is nearing an end.

I came home and ate a gigantic lunch: green beans, half an avocado, several pieces of guisquil, noodles, and two pieces of bread. After teaching all morning and consuming that amount of food I was in need of a nap. The hammock was calling to me. Not being one to disappoint, I laid in the hammock fully expecting to only sleep a short while. An hour and a half later I woke up. I dragged myself into Kathy’s office and sat down in her hammock chair. No, I did not take another nap. We chatted a while and then I work on lesson plans. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. Just working on the usual things.

Kathy just pointed out that there is a pattern in my schedule. I wrote the earlier section of my blog right after school while everything was still fresh. However, my brain was fried so I didn’t see it. My classes go like this: 3A, 4A, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B, 3A, 4A, 5A…and so on. It just so happens that I only do 5 classes in the morning, and I have a total of 6 different classes in the morning. When I think about it, it actually makes sense to me. I’ll have different classes at different times each day, and even though it’s more confusing to me, it will be good for the kids because they’ll get to see me at different times. So I won’t have the same class last every day; this way when I’m fried at the end of the morning the last class of the morning getting stiffed isn’t always the same one. I’m not saying that I completely botch the last class, but I’m certainly not as fresh as the first class of the day. I hope this makes sense. It does to me but it’s completely possible that it’s coming out as gibberish. Now that I know what my schedule is each day I am able to color code it. I feel much more organized.

“You won't realize the distance you've walked until you take a look around and realize how far you've been.” Anonymous

1 comment:

Matt said...

I'm so glad that your second day went so well. It sounds like the other teachers are really nice and want to help out if they can. Sounds like the kids really like you too.