Today marks the first day of working with real, live students this summer. No, the school year hasn’t officially started; this was at what we call “Academy.” Earlier this summer, SJBS (my school) and SMBS (the other nearby school BECA partners with) students both had the chance to attend summer camp run by month-long volunteers. They had a week off from that, and now SMBS students are being offered Academy as another bridge between school years. This program is also a chance for new teachers to test out establishing and enforcing procedures, developing their teacher presence, and teaching their contents. Throughout the day, we are observing each other and keeping track of some “plus-deltas”–what goes well, and some ideas for future modifications/changes. There are three 50-minute blocks a day (with 10 minute breaks in between), but our group has four teachers. This means that one of us will have “off” each day. Today was my first “off” day, but I’m pretty pumped to start our day’s lessons tomorrow with a focus on homophones. Fingers crossed all goes well 🙂
Oh, another fun school-related happening: I found out my daily schedule! It’s possible but unlikely that this will change, so here is the overview:
Basically, I have each grade-level class (7th, 8th, and 9th) for two class periods each day (a combined 80 minutes). Then, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I have one of those classes for an extra 40 minutes (so 120 total!). I will sometimes have recess and lunch duties, but I get my planning at the end of the school day, which has always been my favorite time to have it. Fridays will be extra special, since (unless I’m covering for someone who is sick) I will have ONE HUNDRED TWENTY MINUTES OF PLANNING! This is unheard of back home, so it almost seems too good to be true. I’m interested to see how it plays out once we get into the school year.
Anyway, a bit about non-school matters:
A touch of cabin fever is inevitable after a few weeks in the same town, so this past Saturday, I ventured out to San Pedro Sula, the business capital and second-largest city in Honduras. At home in the U.S., I am fortunate enough to have a car that I can take out on a whim; however, while car-less in Honduras, I have two major options: bus or private busito. In the past, I’ve always been a bit nervous of the buses. I get anxious enough using public transit at home (i.e. What if I miss my stop? What if I get on the wrong one? What will I do if they try to overcharge me? …etc…etc.) Thankfully, Jocelyn (my middle school English counterpart at Santa Monica Bilingual School) was totally up to figure this bus system out.
First, we went to the San Pedro Sula City Mall. Unlike Jocelyn, I can’t say that I’m a mall connoisseur, but this one was an impressive four stories and very much reminded me of a fancier version of the Towson Mall. It isn’t really the best tourist spot, since it feels so similar to walking into a mall in the U.S., but it was a nice escape from my new normal. My favorite part was the food court that had a window-wall gazing out onto the surrounding mountains (Did you think I could go a whole post without mentioning them? Because I’m starting to think that’s impossible). Another plus about the food court: it’s a slightly homesick gringa’s dream. Subway, Wendy’s, Cinnabon, Little Caesar’s, and my choice for the day, Pizza Hut. At home, I’m not one too drool over fast food, but this personal pan cheese pizza was everything I wanted in that moment. It was just a bit greasy, and most importantly, it had the best cheese I’ve tasted since when I flew here a little under a month ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE rice and beans, but sometimes comfort food that reminds you of home is a necessary mood-invigorator.
Anyway, outside of the food court, I found material happiness in Office Depot and a small school supplies store. It’s good to know that if I can’t find something locally, those are options. Anyway, we met up with a few other BECA volunteers and played a game of “Who’s the parent company?” where we tried to match Honduran stores with their U.S. equivalents. For example, there was Hush, which was by all means had to be related to the popular bath-bombs store Lush. There was also Malibu, which if you type in “malibu tienda honduras” in a Google search and you were a teenager in the 2000’s, I guarantee you’ll recognize as a Honduran Hollister. There were also a lot of store names that you would recognize: Forever 21, Aldo, Nine West, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger–to name a few. If you’re interested in a full list of the stores, you can check them out here.
Anyway, I ended up back in San Pedro Sula by way of private busito (driven by Roni, the same man who owns the coffee finca mentioned in my earlier post). We checked out the nightlife in what I hear is a classic combo of Pato Jr. and La Malquerida. Definitely not my usual preference in nightlife (which generally has less remixed DJ tunes and more of a let’s watch a cover band play, eat some food, and chat about life kind of vibe), but the whole evening was a good time and a totally different feel from my day-to-day norm in Cofradia.
Despite this need to escape once in awhile, I can’t complain too much about this amazing place where I’m living. I’m especially impressed by the view from my window–especially at sunrise.
Some other quick notes:
- Rain here is different than what most of us might be used to. My Aunt Gail just messaged me after seeing the daily rain prediction on weather.com. At home, this would mean a depressing string of dreariness with little relief. Here, however, it could rain every day this week, but it is likely to come in random 5-20 minutes spurts in between heavy sunshine. It’s amazing how quickly the weather transitions/recovers here.
- I’ve grown to love working in the computer lab at school, but it isn’t because of the computers. The real leading reason is that it is the only room on campus with AC, a dearly valued commodity around here.
Anyway, I hope all is well for everyone else! As always, feel free to text my usual number, email, or Facebook message me.