It has been hard for me to manage my kid’s behavior in class this week. I attribute half of it to the fact that my kids are rambunctious and half to the fact that I haven’t prepared much for the kids to do. I feel like I am in a perfect stopping point to take a break. I don’t want to teach a little bit of a new tense just to have to learn it over again after Semana Santa. So far, the part of their education I have neglected is art, music, and physical education. I have been so focused on English that the kids seem to get burnt out. They have more hours of English a week than any other subject. So today, I let both 4th and 6th grade bring in breakfast. I brought a blender and we made banana milkshakes. With the milkshakes they had beans, cheese, fried bananas, and avocado. It was a delicious start to the day.
In 4th grade music, we are choreographing a dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. They are absolutely hilarious with the motions acting like zombies. It is kind of a drama as well as a dance, which I copied off of the real music video. There is a boyfriend and girlfriend walking and the zombies bite Michael Jackson—who is played by my best student Kevin. Kevin turns into a zombie and they do a dance aimed at intimidating his girlfriend—played by the blonde damsel in distress, Alondra. This week since I took it easy in English, I had them make paper mache zombie masks that turned out really well. We are having an assembly for Mother’s Day and I told them they could perform their dance and drama for the school and their Mothers while wearing the masks. I hope it won’t be too scary for Mother’s Day.
As for 6th grade, we have made some incredible progress these last few weeks. The kids can use the present tense—I play soccer. They can use the past tense—I played soccer. They can use the future tense—I will play soccer. The present continuous tense—I am playing soccer. The past continuous—I was playing soccer. They are much better at writing than they are at speaking, but I think that is pretty normal at this point. I am going to try and implement more oral exercises to the curriculum so they have a chance to practice actually using the language.
I don’t know yet whether I am going to be traveling for Semana Santa. I am bouncing back and forth mostly due to the cost and time of traveling. I would like to see as much as I can while I am here, but I have also already seen so much of Central America that I may want to stay around here and save some money. We get the entire month of June off and I think I am headed back to
to do a volunteer project that I asked my study abroad program in Antigua, Guatemala Antigua to set me up with. If they find me something, I imagine I will need money to live for the month in an expensive city like Antigua by Latin American standards.
I have been playing quite a bit of basketball in the park with a group of guys that plays every night at 5. It is a pretty competitive game and very good practice for my Spanish. Speaking Spanish on the street is a whole different ball game than speaking in the classroom. They speak in an entirely different, informal tense to each other that isn’t seen in books. The slang and cuss words out number any normal resemblance of Spanish. It’s probably not the best education to learn a bunch of slang and cuss words, but it is really good for your ear to be able to sift through the bull shit and understand what they are saying. They speak unbelievably fast and most of them are young so they have the teenage mumble going.
What has surprised me so far as the weeks pile up quickly is that I don't have many moments where I wonder what the hell I am doing here. It is all pretty clear to me. I am here to teach and to learn. In college and in my post college work experience, sometimes I wanted to stand up in the classroom or in a large meeting at work and say, "What the hell am I doing here! I don't belong here! This isn't me!" I rarely wonder why I am here or if what I am doing matters. The phrase I use most often now is directed not at myself, but my kids. "What are you guys doing!" "Don't do that!"