That's what the kids all called me when I got to school on Monday. They all knew I'd be coming and, by the way I was dressed and my "spanish, mexican, argentinian" accent I apparently have, it wasn't hard for them to tell I was the new English teacher. I've never been given so many hugs in one day, and I have to say, I could get used to it.
Let me start off by explaining that the Colegio Evangelico Joe Hartman in Kilometer 6 consists of 10 classrooms. The school has one Kinder class, one Pre-primero class, one Primero class, one Segundo class, two Tercero classes, 2 Cuarto classes, one Quinto class, and one Sexto class. Each class has anywhere between 15-33 students. As I learned this week, a typical day goes like this: the kids get to school early and play around until they are asked to line up on the basketball court where they are then asked to pray, sing the national anthem, and sing the school's theme song before being escorted to class. Then, the day begins, sometimes at 8, others at 8:05. Each grade has one teacher and he/she teaches all the subjects the kids are required to learn...except English. I float from class to class, with my lesson plans and papers, teaching each grade once a week for45 minutes. Yes, I bolded that, because as many probably know, ONCE PER WEEK IS NOT ENOUGH. I mean, think back to when you were in school and had a foreign language class everyday and still couldn't grasp every concept. But no matter, I'll make it work because if I've learned one thing about these kids this week, it's that they are eager to learn.
Which brings me to my first week of classes. I have to be honest and say, this week was a little rough. It was very evident that they did not respect me like the other teachers and often, other teachers came in to quiet them down for me (which although appreciated, also made me feel a little incompetent). It was also difficult because, unlike the other teachers, who write stuff on the board and have the students copy the information in silence, I like my classes to participate. Furthermore, in order to learn English, the students have to participate and practice pronunciation. But, that's what this week was for, to observe and learn what students do and don't respond to and then to come up with new strategies to allow the kids not only to learn but also have fun! Like I was telling, Jessica Phanord, I'm not scared of a little challenge.
As far as everything else is concerned, I'm great. I'm surrounded by such animated and lovely people everyday; so full of life. The guaguita I take to school every morning with the other teachers never fails to make me laugh, even when were scared it might not make it through the trip...for those who've been to Turkey, think of a dolmus but smaller, with a door missing and a much more wobbly ride. To some it might seem dangerous and unsafe but there's something so simple about it. We all laugh when we make it to school ok, or pray that we make it up a hill. Nothing extravagant, but I think that's what I love about it; it reminds me that its the relations you make and experiences you have that are important, not the cars you drive or things you have.