Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm a Snail.

24 de febrero 2014. So things are starting to move. Like watching a snail make its way across a paved road. You and I cross the road in seconds. But as we pass the snail with it's slimy residue left behind as a reminder of where it's been and how far it's gotten, he treks his way without looking back, knowing he will make it. No matter how long it takes.
And so that's what I'm hoping for. I'm moving at a snail's pace. Some of that is my fault (mostly) and some isn't. My projects are small and insignificant in comparison to the big dreams Peace Corps lays out for us and the grand vision my boss has of me and my future endeavors. But they've begun (most of them anyways). 

1. Baseball Competition. 

So the kids arrive super late, right? Right. Teachers will blame it on the cold in the morning but then just chuckle and shrug their shoulders when I ask what the excuse then is for the afternoon tanda. So the competition can be seen below:

Each grade has a team and a team name (that they chose). Each team then has a game piece that can be moved in the baseball feild. At 8am and 2pm on the dot, I take attendance and figure out the percentage of present students in each grade. The grade with the highest percentage of students in class on time passes to the first base. This is done each day and if they make it home, I record the home runs on the chart on the right. After a month, the grade with the most home runs wins a prize. 
It started out great, attendance skyrocketed and the kids arrived excited (overly?) and early each day. But that lasted a week. Now they don't arrive as much but still seem to care about who wins each day... This may only last for this month.

2. First Grade Grupitos. Gonna start those soon, I swear. Too many things keep coming up, but every Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll have a group of kiddos that live right here, close by in the school from 2:30-3:30. There's six boys. Then by 4, I'll have another group in "El Cruce" which is about a 30 minute walk with 5 munchkins in that class.

3. Vara de Vaca. So this is my community next door. Neighbors of Haiti where a little one room school holds up to 40 kids each morning with one teacher and grades 1-3 all at the same time. And there are five munchkins to every 3 chairs. Not fun. So while I'm still looking for a sustainable way to help her, for now, every Monday, I go (walk a half hour to get there and come back) and pull out her third graders and teach them literacy (and more). It's challenging since most of them have a first language different from Spanish (Creole) and my first language is different from Spanish too (but English). I love it though. Teaching really is my passion and she seems to appreciate having less of a headache at least once a week.

4. Escuela de los Padres y Madres. Last month we had a meeting and another one is coming up. I've offered my help and a manual with dinámicas and fun activities to liven up the meeting but with no bite thus far. We shall see how the next one goes next week.

5. Escojo Enseñar Conference. At the end of this month, we've got a national conference where a director and teacher from each school where there's a volunteer will come together and share, learn, and hopefully leave motivated to teach better and empower the kids of the future. I've been roped into doing two charlas (workshops). One about classroom management and another about the power of a positive classroom culture. Cheers to having 70 participants and while I'm way behind in planning, here's to hoping it'll all fall into place by then.

6. Women's Softball Games. This has nothing to do with my job here. But I love it. Nearly everyday after school gets out at 5, I get to play softball. On the weekends, we have legit practice. We were supposed to have a formal game with the women from DaJabon but it didn't happen. This next weekend, however, we're supposed to be played Restauración. I've been put on first base :)