>> Friday, February 15, 2008
A belated Valentine's Day, or Día de Amistad (day of friendship) to all our friends and family. Since February 14 here seems to be geared less to romantic love and more just to friendship, it was a lot of fun to celebrate at school and teachers received all sorts of goodies from their students. Some of the items I received include chocolate/peanut butter bon bons, Ritz crackers, lollipops, and a flower; other professors were even luckier, receiving roses, chocolate, and even a bottle of wine. During receso (students' daily 15-minute break) the teachers' lounge was full of students decorating with streamers and balloons. After the break, all the students were sent home (two hours early) so that the teachers could have their Valentine's Day party. There we ate wonderful chicken tacos, salad with ketchup and mayonnaise, soda, and refrescos in plastic bags. That afternoon, our landlord's granddaughter, whom I help with her English homework, came over and also gave us a dozen bars of soap from her grandpa; I hope they weren't trying to drop any hints, but we probably have enough soap to last us well through the next year and a half. Finally, in the evening the Alcaldía (mayor's office) had a big event in the central park that we attended. There were singers, poets, raffles, and we saw a lot of our students from our Telecentro classes (many of them work in the Mayor's office) and students from my school as well.
More generally, I think the school year is off to a great start for both Paul and me. There have certainly been delays and some frustrations with the scheduling, but it's been nice to actually start the school year here as teachers; last year we came in after second semester had already begun, and by that time all the students already had their routines and their opinions of English class. This year we were introduced at the assemblies on the first day as teachers, and we really feel like actual teachers in the school. We've also been trying extra hard to start off doing lots of fun activities so that kids will be enthusiastic about learning English; today to practice greetings and departures, my class learned and sang "Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles. The kids have been really excited and friendly, so that has made our jobs much more fun and, except for the days that my classes begin at 7:00, we're both eager to go to school.