School was normal today meaning it was abnormal. I had no first period class because only a few teachers were at the school teaching today and Carmen wasn’t one of them. It worked out because I was able to get some work done before I went into school. When I arrived at school everything seemed very bare because most of the students and teachers weren’t there. I walked to my 3rd grade section A class to teach. When the bell hadn’t rung to signal to the kids that break time was over I asked the teacher about it. Since the director wasn’t here today and the office was locked there was no one to ring the bell. So I just used my watch as a way to figure out when class would be over.
The kids from the 4th grade class I teach and their teacher had set up a little snack stand and were selling food. They explained to me that the snack area that’s usually opened was closed. They were selling jell-o, fruit, pop, sandwiches, chocobananos, and juice. It was pretty crazy because all the kids were helping and many of the other students who were there were buying food. I bought some jell-o and fresh pineapples juice from the kids. The teacher also gave me a small sandwich but wouldn’t let me pay for it. People here are so generous!
Since half of the 4th grade class was helping with the snack stand and the other half was running back and forth between the room and the stand I figured trying to teach a “proper” class would be a futile effort. So instead I read a book I brought with me that was in English and Spanish. I told the kids who wanted to hear the story that they could sit in the class and listen. The book was Goldilocks and the Three Bears and they kids loved it. I read each page first in Spanish and then in English and did funny voices for each bear. They liked it so much that after I finished they all kind of sat there waiting for me to pull out another book. I didn’t have another with me so they asked me to reread the book. It was a lot of fun!
After that we still had about 10 minutes of class left. So I let the kids come up to the board one by one and write a word on the board in Spanish that they wanted to know in English. The first word was “cat” and the second word was “dog” and from then on all the kids wrote down animals. It got kind of crazy and everyone wanted to write several words on the board. When class was finally over and I told them it was time for “recreo” (recess) they wanted me to keep writing words. But I needed to move onto my next class so I told them we’d do this activity again sometime.
My last class wasn’t very long. We worked on pronunciation for a while. People have a problem making the “sh” sound but have an even harder time making the “th” sound. We finished up class around 11:05. By then there were only four teachers left and one of them was sick and the other was cleaning up the snack stand. So they decided not have the teacher’s class this week. It was a short day for me but I still got some things accomplished.
I played with my own personal petting zoo when I got home. Chelita decided she wanted to stand on my arm for a while. She’s getting bigger every day. I wonder when she’ll be big enough to stay outside all night. Barbara is also doing well and took a very long duck bath today. I fed her some tortilla pieces and apples after she was finished.
I also fed Chiquita some tortillas. For some reason she doesn’t like fruit which is weird because in the wild conures eat fruit, seeds, and flowers. They’re from this area in Central America so I’m not sure why she doesn’t like fruit. I’ve tried mangos, apples, bananas, and jocotes but the only thing she likes is tortillas. But she is a smart bird and I’ve taught her to give kisses. I’ll have to try to get a picture of that sometime.
This evening I chatted with my sister who lives in Japan for 2 hours on Skype. She is an English teacher there and has been there almost two years now. We talked about how school was going, what ages of kids we have, the hardest classes, how we keep the kid’s attention, fun learning activities, discipline techniques, etc. It was a good conversation. There are definitely a lot of cultural differences than influence how we teach and how we discipline the kids when they’re not paying attention. For example, shame can be used quite effectively in Japan but doesn’t seem to work well here. And we both go through times of feeling like great teachers to feeling like not so great teachers. We’ve going to video chat on Sunday evening to compare notes again and try to give each other some new ideas. It should be helpful!