I’ve survived my first ‘first week of school’!! It was quite intense, but I lived to tell the tale.
For the first 3 days, it was just us teachers. It was so hard waking up that first day. When we arrived at school, all of the teachers were gathered in the lobby giving hugs and kisses to each and every one of us. You would think we hadn’t seen each other in 5 years. It was a little hilarious. When we entered the auditorium, again, we gave hugs and kisses to the administrative staff standing against the wall. I felt like I was at a wedding giving well wishes down the line or something. It was quite comical. Each morning we had an assembly to discuss various important subjects. Of course, each meeting was in Spanish. I was shocked at how much I understood. I thought that after going home for 3 weeks, my Spanish would drastically decline, but I found this week the opposite has happened. It’s like it all of a sudden just clicked. Now, I understand about 90% of what my coworkers are saying!
Thankfully, we had some time to get out classrooms in order. Dani and I worked non-stop and were ready for the kids by Tuesday. We were so impressed with how hard and fast we worked together.
^^ My job chart I made
^^ The sign I made
^^ The Safe Place finished product. I give it a week and a half before it falls down...
Thursday was the day the kids arrived –their first day of school. We had to arrive super early in the morning to get a parking spot and avoid traffic since all of the parents bring their children into the classroom on the first day. It was so chaotic, I had to greet each child and his/her parents while also being in the class to explain the work at their desks AND take their picture. It was like I needed to be in 4 different places at once.
We had a few criers who didn’t want their parents to leave but the more intense case was one boy who refused to come into the classroom and was hysterically crying out in the hallway. His father had to leave for work and he refused to come inside the class or even just put his backpack down. He actually spent the entire day in the hallway with his backpack on. We did get him to sit in a chair finally. All of the school specialists, other teachers and the principal could not get him to come inside. He went to lunch with us and cried the entire time and didn’t eat anything. It was exhausting for all of us.
On the second day of school, he started the morning off crying but jumped right in the line when we went to art class. Dani and I were so confused but we just went with it. After art class, he followed the line back into class and sat down at his desk. It was so bizzare but hey, we’ll take it! I have another student who is going to be a bit more challenging as he seems to be (not officially) on the spectrum and has the attention span of a 3-year-old. He cannot sit at his desk for longer than 3 minutes without getting up and playing with things around the room. Hopefully, this is where my special ed degree will help out a bit.
All in all, our class this year seems wonderful. They are coming from a kindergarten class where they had another gringa teacher so their English is very advanced. They are so well behaved and sweet. I think its going to be a great year!
On the first day back with the teachers, one teacher was actually crying in the lobby because she didn’t want to come back to school!!
There was a man selling fruit on the way home and I asked Maida what fruit is that? She told me it was tuna. I said “like the fish?!” Maida told me "no, that’s atún". I translated tuna to English and it is prickly pear. Dani brought me a prickly pear the next day to try.
At lunch we were talking about how hot it is (remember its summer), and I replied “Yeah, I’m so hot!”. My co-worker looked at me and said “Can you say ‘I’m so hot’ and people will know you mean the temperature and not your looks?”
On the first day, Dani told all the kids to put their drawings under their desks. She didn’t hear me when I corrected her to say inside their desks. I was walking around the class and one student actually put her drawing under her desk, like on the floor!
The safe spot seems to be working well. I didn’t know how often it would be used, but since the kids already know it from Kindergarten, it’s no problem. If they need a minute to cool down, they quietly get up and go take a seat in the safe spot for a few minutes. Then they walk back to their seats. It’s second nature to them and quite humorous to watch.
^^ I pet this adorable friend while walking to the metro. She following me down into the station!
^^ Finding bagels in Santiago is like finding a unicorn.
^^ My sweet amazing co-workers threw my a surprise birthday party
^^ I'm probably the first person in history to find snow in 90 degree weather
^^ The birthday cards and anniversary cards have a little wheel to spin for the correct age/year. How personal...
That's all for now. Time to rest up for a busy week ahead!