Saturday, December 6, 2008

School Daze

Tom and I concluded 12 weeks of Spanish language school. That's us pictured below with three of our teachers, and Rolando has the pumpkin pie we brought to share. We've had three hours a day of grammar, practice, and conversation, five days a week for twelve weeks, plus two classes of cooking or dance each week. While I definitely need time for what I've been taught to sink in, I will surely miss my teachers and classmates at Escuela Mexicana. I feel accomplished to have finished the trimester and humbled by how much more exposure and study it will take know this new language.
Meanwhile, Tom and I have been volunteering in local schools, for another view of education in Mexico. I have been working in English classes with teachers Miriam and Celeste at Instituto Ignacio Montes de Oca. The students call it "Emo" due to the acronym being IIMO.  With over 40 fifteen-year-olds of mixed previous English experience per class period and a whiteboard in a battered classroom, these women have a tough job. I found the kids to be friendly and enthusiastic, the teachers dedicated, the classroom structure rather loose, and looming state exams to stress teachers and students just like they do in my
 school back in Washington State, USA.

Tom has been teaching 5th and 6th graders English at Juan B. Diosdado school in a very technology-based curriculum, involving videos and a smartboard. There are similarly forty students per class, and his students wear uniforms, which is very common here.  Now we're running into our students all over town. Tom's are usually with their parents, which necessitates introductions.  Mine are usually hanging out with their friends being cool teenagers.
Dana and Noah are managing school changes as well, concluding at Colegio Yeccan Waldorf (did you spy it in the photo where they are walking to school?) as we ready for our month of travel before returning to the USA. Just as for Tom and I, it is bittersweet. They have made friends and like school and our adventures here, and that's makes it hard to leave, even though we look forward to seeing friends and family at home.

We expected to be a little dazed by the school transitions, it's the price for getting to live here for the fall semester, but saying good-bye at the kids' school was hard.  Both Dana and I shed tears.  I'm consoling myself by thinking we'll come back. I want to learn more Spanish, I want the kids to learn more Spanish and stay connected to friends here, and I want to visit again the wonderful people we have met. Plus I love Guanajuato!  Next though, we're heading into our month of travel, starting with the monarch butterfly sanctuary and the 10,400 foot volcano Paricutin. Then it will be off to Oaxaca City and the Oaxacan Coast. Feeling dazed, but oh so thankful to be here.     

1 comment:

Springboard said...

What a rich and fulfilling trip you have had. We can't wait to hear more, more, more! And, we can't wait for you to come back home :)

Darcy, James and Colin