First week at the project

 Posted by Jacquelyn at 12:21 pm  Costa Rica
Aug 042015

The first day of my project site at Dulce Nombre (a public elementary school) was on Tuesday July 28.  I arrived an hour early to my project because the bus route usually takes an hour and a half to two hours, and of course I did not want to be late on my first day.  Although time is very fluid here in Costa Rica, my host agency wants us to be an example and keep our punctuality.  Upon my arrival, I went to the secretary’s office to ask for my site coordinator but because only some people in the school knew who I was the administrators looked very confused when I asked for my site coordinator.  When they finally found my site coordinator we went straight to work.  She is on of the English teachers in the school, but she never stays in one class which is why it was hard to find her in the mornings.  Since this is a public school it is easy to assume that it is crowded and understaffed so my presence at the school is greatly appreciated.  For the first part of the day I observed my site coordinators classroom and introduced myself to her 2nd and 3rd graders.  For the second portion of the day I lead a spelling bee practice session, which is my main goal here at Dulce Nombre.  In order to teach the children English like we intend to at the school, the teachers came up with the idea of a school wide spelling bee.  Every day during the week I work with grades 1-6 with memorizing a combination of site words and non-site words.  I found this class very challenging mostly because of our language barrier.  Granted I can speak more than basic Spanish, but in order to teach a class I needed to learn more vocabulary.  Needless to say I became very overwhelmed with the constant pausing and blank stares that the children gave and vice versus.  I know that this experience is going to be beneficial but on my first day I felt so defeated especially when I went to my Spanish lesson after school.  I tried to explain in Spanish what I did, but I found that difficult as well.  Due to this overwhelming sense of incompetence, I tried to focus on how happy the teachers were when they saw we walk through those school doors.  The following days at my project were relatively easier.  The kids were extremely receptive to me and on the second and third day of my arrival the spelling bee classes grew form 15 to 25-30 children.  Like I mentioned in the beginning, Dulce Nombre is a public school with little to no resources so since my spelling classes grew we were forced to hold class outside.  Both the children and I did not like this experience especially because they could not hear me.  Nonetheless, the children were very ecstatic to learn new words and seemed certainly interested in who I was and were I was from and how I looked.  They all just kept staring at me for the first 5-10 minutes while complimenting my hair and my features, it was very interesting.  The second and third graders seemed to be amazed by my presence the most.  They kept hugging and holding me during our spelling class and during my class observations.  This culture definitely knows how to express their love and gratitude for a person, I just hope I can reciprocate that love and gratitude.



Until next time



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