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I Actually Live Here

Thursday, May 5, 2011

7:45 Wake-up, put on long-underwear, pants, lil’ sweater, thicker sweater, fleece, other jacket, scarf.

8:00 Apples & yogurt & last night’s Jon Stewart.

9:00 Arrive at school, set up shop by fire in teacher’s room.

9:30 First break.  Say hi to everyone.

9:45 1st grade English.  Review animal coloring sheet we did on Monday (What color is the cat?).  Frustrating, lack of listening despite usual tricks, such as call and response, “1,2,3,”–> “Silence, please!” in different voices (whisper, squeal, robot, etc.)

10:30 Pop into 7th grade class to remind them about after-school activity related to battery-recycling campaign.  Last week, 20 7th and 8th graders signed up, and no one showed up, but then again, the school was closed that afternoon for some internal drama, so we’re trying again.

11:00 Feeling down and hungry– buy a 100 peso (US $0.22) pan across the street, go to the post office (no mail this week), eat my warm bread on a bench in the sun before returning to school.

11:15 Kindergarden English.  I am thrilled to learn at least half of the students can differeniate between “What’s your name?” and “How are you?”.  Then we colored in what will become a bingo sheet for next week, which meant I was stationed at the trash can, sharpening colored pencils.

12:10 2nd grade English.  “Do you have a sister/brother?  Yes/No.”  After two classes of teaching brother/sister/mother/father, it was so exciting that they were able to get this question!  We talked about it, wrote it down in notebooks, and then had pairs come up to ask each other and answer.  I’ve used this same picture in 3rd, 4th, 9th and 10th grades to teach grandmother/father, aunt/uncle, and the hardest word of all– cousin.  And yes, the theme song is stuck in my head, but humming it sure is a great way to get kids to laugh.

1:00 Come home, carry in wood, make fire.  Today up to maybe 50˚, sunny.  Lunch: salad I prepared last night (lettuce from our garden, cilantro and carrots from my vegetable lady), scrambled eggs with cheese, avocado, a few leftover black beans.  Dessert (this country is getting me addicted to sugar): slightly over-done peanut butter oatmeal cookies I made last night in a burst of nostalgia (peanut butter brought to me by other American teacher from her trip to States), milk (suddenly, I drink milk.  Especially milk and cookies).  A few people from our sister company came by to use the internet for a bit.

2:30 Intention: finish lesson plan for adult English class tonight.  Reality: wasting time on the internet.

3:30 Meet with 2nd grade teacher about starting environmental education with her class.  We lesson-planned all of May, and also had a great conversation about implementing kind yet firm expectations, treating kids like people, and getting them out of the boring four walls of school into the real world.  I also told her about how great her daughter is in my high school afterschool class.

5:00 Actually finish lesson plan for adult class.

6:00 Attempt to meet with teacher about June 6 environmental day/assembly, only to hear he has left.  Go across the street to buy onions, garlic, and more carrots, chat with store owner about her son’s college vacation in July, and the favorite foods she will cook him.

6:15 Maté in the office/my house with C, a woman who is offering a weaving class via our organization (I’ve signed up!).  She eagerly looked over the list of the eleven people who have expressed interest.  We talked about her daughter, also in my high school class.  Last night only two girls showed up– C’s daughter, and the 2nd grade teacher’s daughter– so I took them over to my place to drink tea and flip through a picture book together.  I asked C, “Did your daughter tell you about last night?” and she replied, “She told me, it was the best class, it’s so fun, I can understand almost everything she says!”

7:15 Delicately ask what time it is, and remind C that I have my adult class at 7:30.  She is fabulous and gets it right away without being offended.  Earlier, I cut up apples to have with maté, and she told me that is bad combination for her stomach in a way that didn’t make me feel weird about continuing to eat myself.   I feel comfortable with her.

7:30 Adult English class.  We do an activity related to English around the world.  Six people come– three police officers, one retired couple, one young mother– though two others emailed me to say they were out of town.  I am still figuring out the best methods to meet their various levels, but I am also starting to laugh more, and to get them to laugh.  This is a very good sign.

9:00 L stops by, an agronomist who works with the company, to discuss when he can take me and the Palena science to teacher to the true nursery to show us some native species, something I’ve been trying to coordinate for weeks.

9:20 Dinner:

Miso soup, with instant miso and tofu courtesy of a care package, soy sauce courtesy of Argentina, ginger from Santiago (from American teacher).

9:30 Skype date with fellow American teacher, we fill each other in, exchange ideas.

10:30 Knock on the door.  It’s A, husband of prek teacher, here to invite me to a surprise birthday party on Saturday.

11:00 Chance encounter with Mom on Skype!

12:15 As I finish this post, after munching on peanuts and chocolate chips, I am tired but not yet ready to go to sleep.  I was really hoping to finish my mini-paper I’ve been writing about the last book I read (Spanish teacher has eagerly agreed to correct it) and then watch El Laberinto de Alicia (I am one episode behind because I didn’t watch last night).   Maybe just one episode, then one last log on the fire, and then bed.

Tonight, gentle rain.

Perfect for sleeping.

One Comment leave one →
  1. David Russell permalink
    Friday, May 6, 2011 4:15 am

    I love it! You put us in a little webcam on your shoulder so we can see your through the paces of, yes, living there. I especially love the teaching passages; you are a teacher, with all the highs and lows that that entails. A book you might want to check out is “Teach Like a Champion.” It’s got a lot of play in the US over the last year, and it is especially good about the little things: from how to pass out papers to how to ask questions. The subtitle is “49 techniques that put students on the path to college.” Time to get off to my teaching!

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