Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poder Joven

Sorry, I forgot to translate Poder Joven in my last Blog.  It means Young Power.  Thus the reason that those of us under the age of 28 get one!

In Mexico they take two days to celebrate Independence day.

The Mexican Google honoring Independence Day. September 16th.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Escuela de Nogal website and video

For those of you who don't have Facebook and thus couldn't see the video of the first week of school, follow this link.  The site will also have the students that go to our school and the teachers who are up for sponsorship if you are interested (200 dollars to pay a teacher monthly, 25 dollars to support a kid monthly.

Dia de Independencia

Wow.  This week has been a long one.  Between schoolwork, planning lessons and teaching adult English classes I have been living, eating, sleeping and dreaming school.  By the time I finished this weeks work on Sunday, I was shot.  I'm going to have to figure out a way to manage and balance everything so that I get a break throughout the week.  I don't want to burn out on teaching so early in the year.
The good news is that the sixteenth this week is independence day for Mexico, which means...that's right no school.  But not just no school, no school for three days!  I get to rest and prepare for five days total this week including the weekend.

 Not to mention, starting tomorrow night the party begins!  I will buy a Mexican blouse (red, white and green) and head to the street where there will be food out the wazoo: tacos...tacos...tacos, burritos, gorditas, enchiladas, iced fruit drinks and more.  We will play games and sing to a live band, and then when the clock strikes 11:30, we will all scream "Viva Mexico!!" and watch fireworks light up the sky.  Yeah, the U.S needs to learn how to party from Mexico. 
All in all I think it will be a good and exciting break.  Even on Thursday the teachers and students will be in a parade all marching together.

"Americana" got the sleepy eye

All the hard work aside, I'm learning so much about teaching and helping kids. It is so cool to have a program in Gunnison that challenges me to challenge myself. My students will benefit from it.
We learned last week that our school is behind in the state and I knew we were behind, but I didn't know how behind. Our lack of scores and the students low ability in required knowledge reflects on the school and teachers. People think that the teachers are not capable and won't send their kids to school. The biggest issue right now is that the students don't know how to read. As a first grade teacher it is my responsibility, alongside Bere, to help these kids have a good start on reading. Something that is very difficult! Luckily I'm taking classes at Western that are teaching me the best ways to teach reading and prepare the kids. I'm hoping I will be able to share these techniques with other teachers as well. Today we as a class played Una por Una, where the kids stepped in a square every time I said a new word in a sentence. It was hard, because they always struggle at the end of the day...but they are learning.
The other big help, is learning behavior management at Western. It is very hard to stay consistent with disciplining and giving kids consequences, but as I learn better how to do this we will all benefit. This is such a huge learning experience!

And the Social Scene.

I got a Mexican phone this week, so now I can call all my Mexican friends...ok, well first I have to make Mexican friends ;). My friend Ramiro is helping me to fit in, he helped me buy the phone and is giving me advice on how best to learn about social life in Mexico. I have a Poder Joven card, which gets me discounts because I'm under the age of 28, a cell phone, and I'm learning and making friends with the other teachers in Nava.
I will be going to a concert with these friends later this month...the Camilas, apparently they are a very famous band. I can't wait. AND...

La Reunion
Tex and Marissa lead a small group called La Reunion, or The Gathering in English. We went to the house of Tono and Laura this last Friday and had some Mexican style hang out time. We played...brace really you need to be sitting down...we played "Ten thousand Mexicans say" which is Like a Mexican Family Feud. Oh I had so much fun, playing and eating...I hope you are still sitting...we had dinner at 11:30!! Oh yes I am becoming Mexican! The biggest blessing was just being able to socialize with people and make friends. Of course, being told that the first time I met the hosts that this house is yours, and to take care of myself was great! I was so welcomed and I can't wait to go back Tuesday (tonight) for dinner and a bible study.

In a nutshell that was my week. I hope everyone at home is doing well. Thanks for your support and prayers. What you all want to do and help with in Nava is an encouragement to me! Love
Katt (Gatita).

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm slowly becoming a teacher...

So my second week of school ended today. We received enough money on Monday to be able to pay all of the teachers 200 dollars for the month of September, which was encouraging. This week was kind of rough at first, I was tired and getting sick and had a hard time really being motivated to get up every morning and teach little ruffians. But it worked out ok, on Tuesday even though I didn't felt good I got to read my class a story and I remember thinking how much I was enjoying the time. Today was the same even though it rained puddles, many of which seeped into the room under the door and from the ceiling. But honestly, the school really isn't as bad as I made it sound just now. Our classroom and two others have air conditioning and the people that I work with are becoming family rapidly. Bere, the other teacher I teach with just gave me a free ticket to a huge concert that is coming to Piedras on the 24th. I'm so excited!

Moving From Nava to Piedras

I moved from Nava to Piedras Negras this week because the teachers that are from Piedras who are student teaching at Escuela de Nogal need a ride everyday and it saves money if I take them there and back once instead of twice. So now I have my own room upstairs in the Bagley's house, these are the missionaries that I helped with in July. The room is really nice, it is less stressful to be able to go up there and study when I need to and have my own space to be alone a little bit. It is a blessing.

School Happenings

One cool thing that happened this week is that Bere and I have started working out consequences for our class so that they can take ownership of their own behavior (yes mom and Keith, they are consequences, not punishment...), but many of the other classes are struggling to the point where they aren't able to really teach class because the kids are so crazy. When I was teaching English yesterday the fifth grade kids were throwing rocks in the classroom...yeah. So we are going to share our consequences with the other teachers and start meeting monthly to put together school wide behavior expectations and consequences. I think it will help the kids to take ownership of their own education and behavior, and give them a sense of pride as well. This is exactly what my class at Western taught about about two weeks before I came down, so it is cool that I can use it now to truly help the school become more efficient.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Support the Students

If anyone is interested the kids need to be supported at the school as well. It costs 25 dollars a month to support a child. Pictures are up on Facebook, let me know if you are interested.

My First Week in Nava (it has only been a week?!?)

Hey guys this is just a little blurb about the first week of school, I wrote it for the Roland's (the people I live with) newsletter.  Enjoy!
                When I arrived in Nava a little more than a week ago, I was excited and nervous to get work and live in the city.  By the time, school started on Monday I was more confident, having prepared some, but I learned the first lesson of teaching…and Mexico: Nothing ever goes as planned.  So I got to work on relaxing and just going with the flow with the kids.  Something I think we do pretty much everyday.  By the end of the week I was exhausted and sore, but I had so many moments when I was so happy to be living in Mexico.  Not only did I have moments that I realized I was grateful to be in Nava, but there were moments when despite being tired and nervous, I was encouraged and I knew that this is where I am supposed to be.  This happened when we prayed Friday morning over the school and Zac, and when we were greeted on Sunday by the congregation of San Pablo.  Through this and seeing the video that Zac put together this week for the school I was encouraged in knowing that we are making a difference for the kids at the school.  It was a great start to the year and I’m excited to keep working with the kids and letting God work.