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First Day of September

Thursday, September 1, 2011

8:30 Alarm goes off.  My nose is cold, I’m caught in a bad dream, I roll and snooze and laze.

9:08 Get out of bed.  Lately, I can’t seem to manage to get out of bed on time, so I’ve gotten into a vicious cycle of setting my alarm earlier, but then I just snooze longer because I know I can.  I also stay awake in bed at night.  Sometimes I sing outloud under the covers.

9:15 Breakfast of leftover pinto beans (don’t judge, I just love a savory breakfast) and tea.

9:30 Arrive at school to great teachers during break.

9:35 1st grade English.  They know the song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, and now I am trying to get them to know the body parts outside of sequence.  When you ask them the word for “toes”, they go through the motions of the song in their seat, and then raise a hand when the get to “toes” — it’s like counting!  Today I designed a listening comprehension activity — “Draw one ear.  Draw three mouths.”  Everyone had to practice by drawing the given feature in their notebooks, requiring my co-teacher and to circulate, coaching individual students to sing through the song and find the answer (and count numbers on their fingers!).

10:30 Free period.  I worked on Environmental Education plans for next week, then went home to get my parka (why did I leave without it?) and wallet, so I could by some vegis for a) me and also b) kindergarden.

11:15 Kindergarden English.  Today we moved on from fruit (apple, banana, orange, kiwi, lemon) to vegetables (tomato, avocado, onion, carrot, pepper).  Here’s the best part: when I pulled out a tomato from my bag, one of the typically disruptive kids yelled “apple!” and giggled viciously, clearly trying to interrupt the class.  But I was thrilled!  He was clowning around in English!  Later I pulled out a tomatoe and said, “Apple?  Banana?”  Kids seem to love this feigned ignorance, and today it was a hit.  A joke in English!  Yes!

12:10 2nd grade English.  We are finishing a unit on weather, today adding the phrase I like/ don’t like (previously learned in June re: sports and activities).  New routine: each student must correctly name a number (shown on my fingers) before getting up to get their notebook.  I love this because a) It slows down traffic (and horsing around) at the bookshelves; b) It adds a review of numbers (always needed); and c) It allows me to adjust the difficulty level (give one student 2, the next student 9) without everyone catching on.

1:00 Come home to fire-building and lunch-making.  My fire caught quickly but took a long time to be hot enough to cook (rice + zucchini/egg stirfry), so I worked on 1st grade bingo game while I was waiting.

2:30 I plowed through lesson planning for next week.

3:30 Went to feed dog of a friend who is out of town.  It feels so good to be needed, since I am so often the one receiving, rather than giving help.  P.S. This may be the only dog in Palena with scheduled feeding times of store-bought dog food (most dogs eat when/if there is extra human food to throw out the door).

4:30 Run!  In rain, but once I got going, delicious.  I feel faster, stronger.  In the end I wasn’t gone much more than 30 minutes, but certainly more distance in the same time as last week.

5:15 Chat with Señora Carmen about her upcoming weaving class.  She remarks on how hot my skin is — I remark on how sweaty my skin is!  Sorry!

5:30 Shower (hot water got fixed!  I don’t have to use a pot of teakettle boiled water anymore!), snack (yogurt + apple).

6:30 Adult English class- Beginners.  Four students, one of the two who came last week and three new ones.  This class is new this semester, and while it’s awkward and maddening to get going, tonight I felt great about the energy of the group.  I told them the class would be all in English, with questions in Spanish at the end, which worked well.

7:45 Wonder if anyone will show up for intermediate class.

8:00 Decide no one is coming (I was only expecting 1-2, others are out of town), and start cooking dinner (pasta + cauliflower/tomato stirfry+cheese).

8:30 My friend calls me to remind me that I have to register with the police, since we are going to Esquel (Argentina) tomorrow.

8:45 Police tell me it’s too late, but that I can leave using my passport, rather than Chilean identity card.  I am uneasy about this, but all I can do is pray they let me through tomorrow afternoon.  I am so looking forward to this weekend getaway.

9:00 Dinner, gchat & facebook chat.

9:30 Reading time.  Currently on my bookshelf:

Pablo Neruda, Confieso lo que he vivido (autobiography)

Pablo Neruda, Odas elementas (book of poems, like “Ode to Onion”, “Ode to Chile”, etc.)

Doug Lemoy, Teach Like a Champion: 49 Technique that put Students on the Path to College (thanks, Dad!)

Millie Thayer, Making Transnational Feminism: Rural Women, NGO Activists, and Northern Donors in Brazil (author is family friend and academic role model) [on Kindle]

10: 30 El Laberinto de Alicia!  My Chilean soap opera is ending this month — the suspense is on.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. David Russell permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 8:10 am

    A full, rich day! Nice to hear about the hot water being back on; you can shower the other way, but the novelty wears off very quick, I expect.

  2. Laura permalink
    Sunday, September 4, 2011 6:09 pm

    Hi Margaret!
    It’s so much fun to read your blog and see all of that hard work you put in back in Hugo’s Spanish 111 paying off once more. (I’m a little jealous, actually. Most of my Spanish has been obliterated by a combination of Bambara and French.) But your town looks beautiful, and your work sounds really interesting and challenging.

    I hope you the rest of your year continues to go well, and I’ll look forward to hearing where you travel next!

    • Sunday, September 4, 2011 6:14 pm

      Thanks, Laura! I am enjoying following you, too. All my best!

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