Showing posts from April, 2018

WEEK 1: Overall Thoughts

Day 1 Hours: 8am-3:30pm
Day 2 Hours: 8am-3:30pm
Day 3 Hours: 8am-3:30pm
Day 4 Hours: 8am-5:15pm (extra class)
Day 5 Hours: 8am-2:45pm (early dismissal)

This week seems like it lasted forever and also like it lasted three seconds. So much happened, but already one week has passed and I have two left to go.

I learned a lot about Peru this week, but also about myself. I learned that even if I think I can be confident in an American familiar setting, it takes a whole other type of confidence to make it in a country where you don't speak the language. It takes humility and flexibility to thrive somewhere where you don't know anybody, and you don't know where things are. I realized that even though I just turned 18 and gained independence in America, I lost all of that independence when I came to Peru. Driving myself to work and school and wherever else I needed to go was a luxury that I took for granted.

At the beginning of the week, I could barely speak any words,…

Day 5: Fanta y Encuentro

I saw Adriana today! It was so exciting to see someone from Vermont again, I just about jumped out of my shoes. We spoke for a long time about how everything was going, how the food was, how the little kids are, etc.
Before that, I had been with the youngest kids in the school for the morning. I helped the three-year-old class walk around the city to visit the police station and the fire station. They were about as excited as three-year-olds could be, so it was a bit exhausting. They jumped for joy at the sight of firetrucks, squealed at the policemen, and tried to grab everything within reach. It was adorable.
Since I could barely talk to them besides saying the words “let’s go” and “stick by the wall,” I mostly guided them with my hands on their backs and small pushes in whatever direction I wanted them to go. Physically moving toddlers is pretty much the only way to control them, and it’s pretty funny to just watch them waddle forwards in whatever way they’re directed, like a wind-up…

Day 4: Libros y Ayuda

I ran late today, skipping out the door with wet hair and half a slice of bread in my mouth. We still got to school on time, thankfully, and I got to have time with the youngest kids again!

I helped teach a class of 3-year-olds and a class of 4-year-olds English. We sang little songs and read from an activity book. The kids warmed up to me, trying to sit on my lap and laughing at funny parts of the story along with me. It was so fun to get to know them and help them with everything (even things like taking their jackets off...I forgot toddlers need help with that sometimes).

After that, I presented to kids who were a bit older (six or seven maybe?) about the importance of washing hands. I prepared the presentation beforehand in Vermont, and it was completely in Spanish. I was so so nervous for this presentation, because… let’s face it, I’m not a teacher, and keeping younger kids engaged is difficult. I used lots of cartoon pictures and asked the kids questions instead of saying things m…

Day 3: Iglesias y Ideas

I spent half of my day on a field trip with the youngest preschool kids. I helped them get on the bus, get off the bus, and walk from place to place. They visited their town hall and their local church. Again, I was at a loss for Spanish words most of the time with the littlest ones, because their speech was so different. I managed to help a few kids open their containers for lunch, and I sat with them on the bus.
I also sang them the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in English (a well done, on-key performance if I do say so myself) so they could guess what the song was about (surprise, it’s a boat).

It was a fun day overall, but while sitting in the church I realized I was just as confused as these toddlers were. It hadn’t quite hit me before that this was a catholic school, and all of the teachers were well-versed in their Catholicism. They were singing catholic songs and I couldn’t catch up, so I sat there doing hand motions idly. The key is to look like you’re having fun, so the kids …

Day 2: Autógrafos y Plazas

(Daily entries will usually be shorter than like what you saw in Day 1) I saw the younger children (primary school, or “primaria”) for most of the day today, starting with the youngest kids in preschool to eleven-year-olds. I helped with their English, singing songs about parts of the body or helping with crafts and lessons. Working with young kids has always been fun for me, because they have so much energy and spirit. Being a positive part of a child’s day is also very rewarding.
I found that the kids in primary school were excited to see me (some even wanted my autograph… I felt like one of The Wiggles or something) and were eager to talk and listen. Their ability to understand that I didn’t understand them made our conversations fun, because we were both patient with each other and curious to learn new things.
The youngest kids in preschool, however, were harder to communicate with than adults. They didn’t understand that I didn’t know what they were saying (also their voices are…

Day 1: Timidez y Manzanilla

My first day in Peru was, to say the least, overwhelming.

While meeting my host family when I got off the plane the previous day, I was in a tired post-red-eye daze and mostly slept. Day 1 of school was a brand new day, with open eyes and plenty to learn.
Peru is beautiful. The grey, empty bleakness of Vermont was replaced by green grass, sunshine, and bustling people. The school is magnificent, perfectly trimmed with wide open spaces for children to learn.
The ceremony to open the day at school was a bit intimidating, if I'm honest. All of these kids were watching me try to introduce myself in Spanish.
I've always considered myself to be alright at Spanish. I knew I wasn't the best, but I thought I had a good grasp on grammatical concepts and thought I could speak fairly smoothly. All of that goes out of the window when you're standing in front of a group of hundreds of fluent speakers. I was thrown back to my Spanish 1 class: "Hola. Me llamo Megan. Tengo diesioc…