Back at it with some life updates. Since my last post, so many exciting things have happened!
As you know, in the past few weeks, there has been a lot of political angst in the United States. It’s been a bit difficult to watch from a far because I feel kind of useless. There is a large gringo presence in Chile and this time “Democrats Abroad” was able to organize a vigil for Heather Heyer right here in Santiago. The vigil was organized in just two days after getting word that Vice President Pence would be in town. To our surprise, over 135 Americans showed up with signs and candles outside of Pence’s hotel. This took place just days after President Trumps disappointing and evasive remarks about Charlottesville.
This vigil meant a lot to us because we all were feeling helpless being so far away from our country that needed us. We found comfort in each other because we all understood. I also met some very nice and interesting gringos!
This past week and a half has been quite intense for many reasons. But school-wise, we had Student-Led Conferences. The school decided to move SLC’s up a month and a half making all of the teacher’s lose their minds.
Student-Led Conferences begin in first-grade and continue on every year. The student leads the conference with their parents and shows them their portfolio and reflects on their time in first grade. We take this moment to tell the student how proud of them we are. It’s a very genuine and important meeting. There always a lot of tears from the parents (sometimes both mom and dad). The kids get very nervous since it’s their first time. It’s very interesting to see how the kids behave in front of their parents because many times, they act completely different than the kid they are in school.
It’s exhausting for us as teachers because each 20-minute meeting is one after another. And of course with parents we need to be on our game, with big smiles and our cheery first-grade teacher personalities. My face hurt when we finally finished.
Lately, I’ve really been working on trying to manage my stress. Because SC is one of the top schools in Chile, we are under a lot of pressure to be the best. Although I love it, it's a very intense work atmosphere day in and day out. Being in such a high-stress environment is one of the main reasons why I am constantly sick. I am really trying to use exercise, mediation and rest as positive outlets. I can’t continue to live my life constantly stressed out. So for those who have found themselves in similar lifestyles, I’d love to hear how you manage your stress-levels.
If things weren’t hectic enough. I also gave a presentation on my India travels this week to first and second grade. Back when I was asking for permission to go, the Headmistress said I could go if I came back and gave a presentation on my travels. I had wanted to do that anyway since I was so inspired during my adventures. I waited until August because back in March, our first graders could barely understand English. I wanted them to make the most out of my presentation and really learn something. I chose August because on August 25 we celebrate Solidarity Day.
My presentation could not have gone better. I talked about the schools in India but approached it in a positive way. I showed pictures of the classrooms in India and then a picture of our classrooms, a picture of their bathroom, then a picture of our bathroom etc. It was very kid friendly and I think I really got through to them. The auditorium was silent, and the kids were so engaged. This presentation was so important to me because I truly, with my whole heart, believe we need to do more as educators to raise Global Awareness and teach our students to help others and appreciate all that they have. The message was especially strong since I teach at such a privileged school. I felt these kids needed someone to explicitly show them how lucky they are. This life is all they’ve ever known, how could they possibly grasp how fortunate they are without being shown?
Many of the teachers were so impressed, they want me to do the presentation every year. Some of the kids have even approached me at recess to ask me about India. The principal was jealous on how captivated and respectful they were while I was speaking.
Also, shout-out to “Mr. Benjamín” for surprising my class with some magic. He made their entire year.
So next up? We’ve got Open House in two weeks and we’re scrambling to hold it together. This week we have a very important visitor coming from the United States to follow up on how we are doing with Writer’s Workshop. I’ve taken it upon myself to show him around Santiago. Once Open House is over, the weight of the world will have lifted from my shoulders and I will be a new person. I will head down to Patagonia for 10 days and then close out the school year.
I emailed the school psychologist and just as I hit “send” I noticed instead of writing “_____ shut down” I wrote “______ shit down”
While introducing “Venn Diagrams” to the kids , I asked if they knew what it was. One kid raised his hand and said “Miss, it’s the symbol for Audi” “ Another said it was the Pepsi Symbol
Since we only had a few days to practice for Student-Led Conferences, the kids kept making English mistakes and calling it “Student-Led Confidences”
One of our students was so nervous during his conference that when he was supposed to explain the “exit pass” to his parents, he just started reading things around the classroom. It was very hard to keep a straight face because the parents were so confused.
^^ These friends are allowed to sleep in the metro once it's closed becaue it's warm