Antofagasta International School built a new school this year. It's been a bit of a debacle, to say the very least. Thursday, March 5 was the first day the teachers were allowed in the building of the school. It was nowhere near done, at this point. We basically got a small tour, in which there were too many of us to hear anything, and sat through another very long meeting.
The next day we went back to the school to organize our rooms, or so we thought. We did learn where our rooms were, but they weren't even close to being ready for anyone to move anything into. So, we spent the day moving/"organizing" boxes. This was a chore. Boxes were piled about eight feet tall and thirty feel wide in the middle of the floor. That's not counting the endless number of boxes sitting against the wall. We all worked together to move the boxes into "organized" piles, and it went pretty quickly. By the time we were finished, however, we had to leave because we were in the way of the construction workers.
The following week, we were only allowed to go in on Monday. The school was still nowhere near finished and we were beginning to get a little worried that the school wouldn't be ready in time for the students to come the very next Monday! Because nothing was ready for us to do, we were forced to leave the school early again with nothing done. Later that day, we were informed we could not return to the school until Friday. Now, school started on Monday and we were really nervous at this point about the school not being ready in time and us teachers not having our classrooms together. When Friday rolled around, we were all really anxious to get in there and start working. There were only three days left until the kids arrived and it was panic time. We spent the entire weekend working along side the contruction people. When I left on Sunday afternoon, there was still roofing that needed to be nailed down, and flooring that needed to be done. THere were still classrooms that were in no shape to hold a classroom full of students. So, I was half way expecting to post pone school for yet another week.
Monday came and the school looked drastically different from the day before. Apparently, the poor construction workers had been at the school until 6:00am Monday morning getting the school as ready as possible. They did a nice job, though it's still not finished. So we started school yesterday, March 16th, and no shingles have fallen off the roof and nothing has fallen apart yet. The school still isn't finished, so the kids and teachers have to leave early everyday this week to allow them to finish up without us.
On a completely different note, my kids are amazing. As my Karma would have it, they are a noisy class, and I have to be really strict with them. One of my students has aspergers syndrome along with ADHD (sound familiar??? This has also been my teaching karma since the beginning of my career ). He is a really great kid, though. Unfortunately for him, we do not have the resouces he needs at this school. There is no special ed. or specialist of any kind in the building, so he is left with a classroom of kids and a teacher who needs to divide her time among all of them. He has a hard time sitting through school and makes tons of noises, but the kids absolutely love him, and so do the teachers. I've already put him on a behavior plan. I've made a grid that has the subjects on it from Monday through Friday. After each subject we talk and he either gets a happy face for it if he does well, or we leave the square blank. He's had a few blank squares, but it may take a while, if at all, for him to get all happy faces for the day (pretty sure he won't make happy faces for an entire week, but one can hope).
Despite the obsticles I face in this class, it is by far the easiest class I have ever worked with. Probably because it is much easier to handle fourteen students as opposed to thirty, as I was used to in the States. Sometimes I look at them and wonder who's missing, or why is this class so small. It's sort of hard to belive sometimes that there are really only fourteen students in my classroom.
Over the summer they have lost a lot of English, which is to be expected, so I spend a lot of time showing them things and repeating myself. It's really cute to listen to them try to translate their sentences from Spanish to English, though I have to say, they are already doing better today than yesterday. Everyday I'm reminded how much better kids are at learning than adults. They are so much more patient with themselves. I wish I would have learned to speak another language fluently at their age. They are so lucky!
I think one of the cutest things about this class and Chilean culutre is how they kiss you on the cheek as a good morning greeting and then they kiss you on the cheek to say goodbye. It's so sweet and they are so stinkin' cute. I realize I have kid slobber all over my face, but if you see their little faces it's really hard to cringe.
There is so much more to write about, but I'll save it for another day.