August 20, 2009
I haven’t written in a couple days. Probably because the excitement and adrenaline of arriving in a totally new place started to wear off on Tuesday after I found out how much work it is going to take to teach. In the past couple of days that I have not written in my blog, I haven’t really had access to internet, but nor have I felt moved to write… probably because of the stress I was feeling around teaching. I have written nine yearly plans, three weekly plans (I have to finish the rest of them tomorrow I just can’t stay up any later) and counted, sorted, and evaluated gobs of textbooks in order to be ready for my students to start on Monday!
I’m starting to understand just how hard a teacher’s job really is. I mean, not only is it controlling and motivating a lot of students, but teachers become responsible for how well the students learn the information. I feel lost right now because I don’t know how well the kids speak English, let alone whether they can read or write it. I think the only thing I can do is just go with the flow and do my best. It will take some time getting used to the ages of my students and understanding how much knowledge they already have.
One thing that is so irritating is that our books are all published in the United States. The curriculum I have to work with is for American students. It’s wonderful that the books are donated and they are probably better than anything the Honduran Education Ministry can come up with but it seems unfair that the Honduran children have to learn through the recycled culture of the United States. Let me give you an example… My first reading lesson for the first graders is about the book When This Box is Full, the illustrations are by Donald Crew but I can’t remember the author right now. The lesson focuses on learning the months of the year (great for kids who are learning English) and the four seasons (not so great for Hondurans who only experience summer, and a little bit of a rainy season). So this book talks about things that represent the seasons. The first thing they mention is a snowman’s scarf… wish me luck explaining this to kids who have never even seen snow… Not even atop the beautiful mountains that surround the city of San Pedro Sula. All you can do is laugh at this situation. I will do my best with what I have.
This morning I was feeling so overwhelmed with everything that I had to accomplish. I could not be sad or happy about teaching because I just felt like I was caught in a rip tide and waiting for my head to resurface. Diana, the director, asked us to meet with her (I got nervous and thought at this point it could only be bad news) but we sat down and she just asked us how we were doing. We got to vent a little about some of the things bothering us and we laughed hard about the difference between American and Honduran cultures. After she heard about my overloaded schedule with no time for lunch she said we could give the spelling to the first through third grade homeroom teachers. I felt so relieved! I went back to the classrooms and only received a little slack from the second grade teachers. The rest of the teachers seemed like they understood and felt as if they could take over spelling easily. I felt a little guilty but quickly reminded myself that I am not a paid or TRAINED teacher, and then I didn’t feel so bad. Diana also invited us to her house for the afternoon to work on lesson plans, swim in her pool, and use the internet! I was able to talk with Emmanuel and Xan, Keith, and my mama and papa all this afternoon. I had not been able to connect with any family so it felt so good to hear their voices and to tell them that I am doing well and that I am happy.
Diana also fed us a wonderful dinner of chicken, pork, and beef with chimichurri and champagne! Over dinner I spoke with Diana and Leo about the political situation in Honduras because today Argentina broke all relations with Honduras (I was told that this means all trading and everything). The political situation is very complicated and I don’t understand it at all, but its an absolute shame that because of these political power trips, Argentina and probably many other countries will be pulling out of Honduras. This doesn’t hurt the opposing political party but hurts the already very poor citizens of Honduras.
I hate to end on this note but I want to ask for your prayers and then I have to go to bed because I have to be up for my last day of training tomorrow at 6:30! I am starting to have the whole south of the border intestinal issue. I’m hoping it wont stick around long. I am also having nasty headaches everyday at about two every afternoon for the rest of the day. I am trying to drink lots of water, but I’m not sure if it’s the heat or dehydration, or stress, or what. I am thankful to be happy and feel comfortable in my new surroundings so this is not a setback but certainly something I could do without. Thank you for your prayers!
Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping;
that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.