Monday, August 17, 2009
So today was my first day of teacher training. At eight o’clock today all of the teachers for Holy Family Bilingual school met in the chapel to start. Well, almost all the teachers, many walked in late which I think may just be common in Honduras. Diana the director of OLRM introduced herself and then quickly began to lecture about how we must be disciplined in our own lives in order to discipline the children. It sounds like an on going battle that she has been fighting. I’m sure that it bothers her being from the United States where if you aren’t five minutes early you are late. Anyway, it was quite a strange way to start off a school year… I don’t know many employers in the states that would talk to their employees the way she spoke to all of us teachers. I was just really glad I was on time.
We were first introduced by the principal of the school by our names and what we were teaching. Many of the teachers were introduced as teaching something they had no idea they were teaching. It turns out that the PE teacher is not going to be working for Holy Family and so all the homeroom teachers have to teach their own PE classes. They are not looking forward to it. I met the first, second, and third grade teachers. They all seem very easy to get a long with. The third grade teacher, Erica, has children and an ex-husband in Georgia so she spoke great English and wouldn’t speak Spanish with me. The second grade teacher, Odilia, does not speak great English and she grew up in Our Little Roses home. Its cool to see how much she has accomplished keeping in mind what she has come from. She was very sweet and was impressed with my Spanish. I realized though that when the women chat with each other informally it gets very difficult for me to understand them. I have to remind myself that it will take time to get used to people’s voices and things. When people are giving directions in Spanish I have no problem, I hope I can catch on to it so that I can stay up to date on all the gossip . The first grade teacher is also very sweet and always has a smile on her face. Her name is Claudia and she says the first grade is the best because it’s the last grade that the children still listen to the teacher. I hope that she is exaggerating a bit!
The school building is pretty big but it seems as if its very different here. The children have to bring their own materials to class. The only things in the classrooms are simple, old desks, a white board, and some books on a wood shelf. We went through all our books today to make sure they were not ripped or scribbled in. I still am not clear what I will be teaching or when. I know I have a lot of duties outside of the classroom as a supervisor for the entrance and exit of the kids and to watch them during their recreo or recess. I hope I will learn tomorrow what my schedule is like and what I’m supposed to be able to teach. I guess the name of this game is flexibility!
Our internet was supposed to be fixed today but no one ever came. I don’t know when I will actually get internet, so in order to not lose all my thoughts on these first couple of days I am just writing in word and I’ll upload it later. I’m being flexible .
I made friends with the cooks at the home today. Isabel, Lucy, and Mirian, are the three cooks who come everyday to cook for the girls. They have been saving meals for us in the oven so that after our training we can eat. I feel grateful for the people who are generally on the sidelines of the culture who seem to be looking out for me. I will continue to make an effort to show these women how much I appreciate their hard work. Cooking in ninety something weather with about 100% humidity can not be a fun job!
I spent some time coloring with some of the girls before dinner. We aren’t spending as much time at the home as I would like. It seems as if the other volunteers are not as invigorated as I am being there. I think it takes everyone time to get used to a new situation and I know from experience that it is exhausting learning a new language. I suppose maybe that is why they are over there less. I would go more often but as of now it seems like I should only walk over the OLR with someone else. Now don’t get me wrong I feel completely safe in the neighborhood its just that you never quite know who might decide to visit your neighborhood. As we walk through we are clearly the exotic foreigners, from children shouting Hi and buh bye as we walk by their houses, to old grandpas who as Americanes, and then of course, all the young men playing soccer who stare as we walk by with absolutely no shame.
I feel annoyed that we don’t have internet, that our washer doesn’t work, and that the hot water heater on my shower head makes the water scalding so I shower in cold water anyway. All of these things could potentially be a big problem but the truth is that I am realizing how simple life can be. I don’t need a Jacuzzi or a double headed shower. I don’t need to connect to the internet every single moment of down time I have. And, well I do need to wash my clothes, there are plenty of sinks in this apartment that will suffice. In a world so simple you are forced to know and understand yourself. This is an experience I am sure will bring me hard times and good times. I hope that the end result though is a greater appreciation for those things that we have in the United States and a better awareness of myself.