Friday, February 19, 2010


Well, I’ve made it through the week. It’s been exhausting and fulfilling at the same time. Each day I teach I love working with the kids even more. I also like that we’re getting into more interesting material for the kids. It’s more fun for everyone. After the bell rang in the morning signaling the beginning of the first class, the teacher told me they were going to have a quick prayer. All the kids dutifully bowed their heads and repeated after the teacher. Prayer in school must not be an issue in this school.

My 3rd grade class has no problem asking me questions about English. Like the first class I had with them, they wanted me to write the date in English for them to see. Then they wanted me to write out my full name for them. I did and they copied it all down in their notebooks. Since it was only the second time I’ve worked with the 3rd graders we spent more time on pronunciation, the alphabet, and vowels. But they all did a relatively good job of paying attention. At the end of the class most of the kids brought me their notebooks so I could see the work they’d done. Then one kid grabbed my water bottle, another grabbed my paperwork, and they once again escorted me to my next class.

My next class was 4th grade, class A. We reviewed letters with flashcards and talked about enunciating the last letter in the word. The example I’ve been using is enunciating the “t” in “foot” and the “d” in “food”. Then I write out: “This food tastes good” and “I put my foot in my shoe”. They all laughed hysterically when I switched the letters at the end of “food” and “feet” (This foot tastes good. I put my food in my shoe). This is a fun way for them to remember enunciation in English is important. I guess the fourth graders saw the third graders escorting me, because they too accompanied me to my next class.

Next was 5th grade, class A (are you beginning to see a pattern in the schedule?) Before class started all the kids were asking me how to say their name in English. One kid would ask what their name was then everyone would laugh until someone else asked their name. I love that they’re having some fun learning English. This is a great way for me to connect with the kids and get to know them better. This is the only class that I forgot to take a picture of today. I’ll have to get one on Monday.

I moved on to 5th grade, class B. We spent our whole time practicing social phrases. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite teachers. All the teachers are fantastic, but this one really loves to learn with the class and help me if I’m struggling with anything in Spanish. We worked on social phrases like “Good morning”, “How are you”, “Thank you”, and “Pleased to meet you”. To teach the kids how to say “Pleased to meet you”, I walk around and shake their hands while saying “Pleased to meet you”. They usually say the phrases and then laugh. Only a couple kids didn’t want to do it but they all got a kick out of it.

My last class was 6th grade, class A. This class is a good example of age differences that exist in the same grade. Since one of the phrases we learned today was “How old are you” I found out some of the kids ages. Of the kids I asked, a couple were 11, one was 14, and another was 15. All the kids did a great job learning the phrases, but I’m not sure where the teacher was during most of the class. She just kind of disappeared. I don’t mind that she leaves but I kind of wondered where she went. She probably needed a break.

Lunch today was an adventure. I was pretty hungry after school and looking forward to lunch. When it came time to eat Idalia placed a bowl in front of me with some kind of mystery food in it mixed in with soup. It didn’t look to bad. She told me it was torta de pescado. Basically a fish patty with eggs and cheese mixed in. It’s a special dish for Lent, and it actually sounded tasty. Then I tried it. There’s no nice way to say this: It was terrible. I’m not exactly sure what made it so vile, but I could barely choke it down. Most of the time I can eat food even if I don’t like it, but this was a challenge. Kathy came to the table and Idalia gave her food as well. She took one bite and I could tell she didn’t like it either. We’re pretty sure Mauricio (Cecelia’s son) didn’t like it because we saw him get two glasses of water to eat with lunch.

As soon as Idalia left the room we were discussing how to get rid of it. Kathy suggested taking small bites and eating them with tortilla. I said I wanted to swallow whole pieces with water so I couldn’t taste it. We did the best we could. Now, because Kathy’s stomach wasn’t feeling well she had a small piece of torta de pescado. I had double the amount in my bowl, and I could have sworn that every time I took a bite more of it appeared out of nowhere. After eating about half I finally decided to put the rest in a napkin and put it in the garbage. Thankfully, Idalia didn’t make the food so I didn’t feel as bad. I told Kathy that it would be worse if I gagged on my food than if I were to decline it all together. I said if that were to ever happen I hope the person serving me food would know that I was just trying to polite. They probably wouldn’t see it that way. I was looking forward to pan dulce time at 4pm. I knew I’d be hungry again.

A majority of pan dulce time today was spent talking about snakes and experiences with snakes. We talked about seeing coral snakes and rattlesnakes here. Idalia even told a story about when a certain snake here bites you the way you extract the venom is to cut a baby chicken in half and put in on the bite. Not sure if that actually works. I thought I’d give some tips on what to do if you’re bitten by a snake.

*Seek medical attention immediately.
*Try to remember the appearance of the snake that bit you. If the snake is venomous and you need anti-venom, it is critical to know the kind of snake. Different snake bites get different anti-venoms.
*Do NOT suck the venom out of the wound. If there are any cuts in your mouth the venom will enter into your system. Bacteria from your mouth could also get into the wound. Additionally, do NOT cut the wound open to let the venom out. This will just cause further tissue damage.
*Keep the area that was bit immobilized and remain calm. Try to keep the part of the body that was bit lower than the heart. If you move the area and get your heart rate up, the venom will spread through your system faster.
*If bit on the hand or arm remove all jewelry, watches, etc. If bit on the foot, remove your shoes. You don’t want these things on you if your appendages swell.
*Do NOT take any medication, food, or drink unless directed by a doctor. They could cause complications.

And with that, I bid you goodnight!

"A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free" ~Nikos Kazantzakis

Below are some photos from school. I tried to explain to the boys that we say "cheese" in the US when someone is taking a photo. A lot of them are saying cheese in the pictures. They're pretty darn cute.

My 3rd grade class

More of my 3rd grade class

My 4th grade class

More of my 4th grade class

One of my fifth grade classes

One of my 6th grade classes

More of my 6th grade class- I'm not sure where half the kids were today

The moon as seen through a hole in the roof at the Casa

Kathy sporting the t-shirt I brought her from Iowa.
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa." -Field of Dreams


Matt said...

It is so great that the kids are really embracing you and enjoying learning English so much. The pictures are great and the kids are pretty cute. I wish I could have pan dulce every day.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with Matthew!! Loved the pictures and story you tell about teaching the kids. Wish I was there with you to enjoy the teaching. I'm most grateful for your work with the kids, Alisha. Kevin