Monday, March 18, 2013

Brazil Meets Costa Rica!

Recently, I attended a Brazilian party right in the heart of downtown San Jose, Costa Rica. 


In honor of the recent Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, all of the Brazilian ex-patriates in San Jose gathered together to create their best Carnival themed party. Fortunately, the P.E. teacher at our school is Brazilian so he brought us along for the ride!

What we found when we arrived: lots of wild costumes, loud music, and a lot of dancing. 

One of my favorite parts of the night was when we had a chance to learn the dances to the popular "Samba music". Samba is a very rhythmic type of music that involves a LOT of drumming. 

We also got to see some Capoeira (Brazilian martial arts)! 
Our school hosts a Capoeira class after hours so I was very excited to ACTUALLY know what these Brazilians were up to! 

Last but not least, we also ran into a group of American guys in town for an international futbol tournament. It was weird to have a taste of home in the midst of this culture overload. They were surprisingly pleased to discover that we spoke English!

Unfortunately, I know that speaking English happens to be pretty common around here- a pretty big reason why I'm not fluent in Spanish yet. 
I promise, I'm working on it!

New item added to the bucket list:

Celebrate the real Carnival in Rio!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The First Day of School.

You may have noticed that it's been a while since I've posted. If you're a teacher, then you probably understand why. School started and we hit the ground running. I haven't had a finished to-do list since Day 1. Here's one of the biggest things that I've learned so far.

The First Day of School:

My traditional "First Day of School Picture"

There is so much hype around how important the first day of the school year is. Throughout my years of teaching experience, I have heard talk of things such as "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" and "day one sets the tone for the whole year"...

A lot of pressure, don't you think?

So of course I was more than just a little nervous. And on top of that, I had a huge (and strange) bug bite on my face and I had just broken out in a rash (possibly acquired from the aforementioned hammock experience?) both of which were making me itch incessantly. Plus, I had developed a cold that was making me lose my voice. Fabulous combo! 

I did the best to ignore these ailments and I kept running things through my head- how do I introduce myself? How do I teach them the rules? How many times will I need to model what to do when they come in in the morning? ARE THEY GOING TO UNDERSTAND MY ENGLISH?

I didn't sleep much the night before, to say the least.

So, I did my best to get through my whole grocery shopping list of things to do. Just to name a few:

  • Introduce myself.
  • Take attendance and learn how to pronounce their names.
  • Have them introduce themselves.
  • Introduce and model morning routines. 
  • Introduce behavior plan.
  • Create a class contract (pictured below).

I definitely didn't do everything on my list and I definitely didn't do everything perfectly. There are also plenty of things that have realized should have been on that list.

But I have discovered that it's ok.
These kids are still young.
They have moldable minds.

Even if I didn't think about making them put a table of contents in the front of their notebooks...
Even if I'm still not happy with planner/homework procedures...
And even if I simply can't look at those fabulous teaching blogs right now because they stress me out too much-- It's ok. 

Admittedly, I don't always let myself think that way. However, I KNOW that I have to stop telling myself that I'm going to "accidentally mess up their education forever"! and decide that it's a classroom and we're all still learning: even me.

My encouragement: "...let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." 
Ephesians 4:23-24

Lord, it is my prayer to have renewed thoughts and a renewed attitude. You are working through me powerfully, no matter what my human nature neglects. Help me to put on my new nature and become more like you!