>> Monday, July 07, 2008

Things that used to seem so out of the ordinary to warrant a post have sort of blended into what is normal for us. This is probably why we haven’t posted in a month. We’ve just been busy with day-to-day stuff.

Our first semester exams finished, which is a stressful time of the year. First, if we’re lucky, we help write the tests. Otherwise, the tests end up with errors and typos and the scoring is really irregular. The tests are then just given based on a schedule. For example, Spanish tests are Monday, Math on Tuesday, etc. Some other teacher is probably going to administer the test so you can’t be everywhere to answer questions and prevent cheating. The tests with cheating are sort of like a game of Telephone—the first student gets it correct and then as the answer ripples out from the epicenter the answers get weirder and worse. To grade the tests, Holly and I usually split the stack with our counterparts, which means grading at least 150 tests.

A sample test:

The final grades are really… depressing; just like in the US, students need 60% to pass, but unlike any school I’ve attended, the students are really happy with just a 60. I helped Romel figure the grades on the computer, so this is what one of my first year sections’ grades look like:

Just under half of the students failed, and the vast majority of students that did pass ended up with a D. No one else seems concerned by this.

In other news, the rains have started. We’ve already passed the point of being quaintly pleased by the coolness that the rains bring and now we’re tired of the rains again. It still doesn’t rain all of the time like in October, but now we have a lot more gray ugly days. The rains are usually announced by the most foreboding clouds ever created.

I also got my bike stolen in June. It was basically my fault, but it still hurts. Really, though, that bike was falling apart, so the joke’s on them. The last picture I have of my bike:

There’s a new group of TEFL volunteers that came exactly a year after we did. They’re still in training now, but it’s almost over, so they know where they’re living already, and one of the new volunteers is going to live in Masaya (shout-out to John’s mom!). He’ll work in the Instituto Central (the biggest school that’s in central park) along with giving community classes at the Telecentro. He’s a really nice guy and it’ll be good to have another gringo around to divert attention away from us. This is the front of John's school where we also have our monthly meetings with all of the English teachers in Masaya (this is recess):Holly decided a while ago that she’s going to go to law school after the Peace Corps and she was busy for all of April, May, and most of June because almost every free minute was spent studying for the LSAT. She took the test and is happy with her score, so the next step is filling out applications and throwing away the 5,000 pages of study materials:Dora is doing just fine. She's still pretty necia, but she's learning "drop it" and "off" so well that she will do those things when we ask about 15% of the time.

Right now we’re on semester break. After the final exams, most students (and teachers) just stopped going to school. We’re officially on break until next Tuesday, so we might try to do something fun this week. Otherwise, we’re just relaxing and getting ready for our trip to the US at the end of the month!


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