December 14, 2009

Ericka Griffin - Week Six in Ireland & Closing Statements

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The first picture is of Belfast and “The Eye of Belfast.” My second picture is of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The third picture is of me at Giants Causeway. The fourth picture is of the name of my school (Johnstown Boys National School). The fifth is a picture of the entrance into my school. And, the sixth picture is the church that the students and I went to on Tuesday.

My last week in Ireland came too fast—I was not ready to leave! On Monday, I spent time with my 3rd class students (my primary class, also known as Mrs. Beham’s class), which was amazing! The boys had missed not seeing me for a couple of weeks. I was also able to witness a class rehearsal of their Christmas play, which was the cutest production I had ever seen. They had invited me to see the actual production, but unfortunately, I was going to be back in the U.S. It broke my heart that I could not see their production. Monday morning (before school started), one of the resource teachers invited me back to her classroom, so I accepted and joined her class on Tuesday.

Tuesday was very different from the other school days because it was a holy day. The entire school (including myself) went to eleven o’clock mass at the church next door. The mass was about the Conception of Virgin Mary. In other words, Mary being informed by the angel, Gabriel that she is pregnant with baby Jesus. If the students were not of the Catholic faith, they were given the option to go to the mass, but they also had the option to stay in a supervised classroom (back at school). Before and after mass, I had worked with Mrs. Ryan’s resource students, again, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I helped the children with Monsters Inc. puzzles, as well as assisted them playing an educational game on the computer.

My last day of student teaching at Johnstown Boys National School was on Wednesday, since I was leaving Thursday morning. Since it was my last day at the school, I took pictures of the building and the mosaics that are found around the grounds. I spent my last day in Ms. Gillick’s 6th class, which I had yet to observe. The boys were a lot more disciplined than the 3rd class boys. The teacher even left the room briefly a couple of times, and the boys continued their GAA projects, as if she had never left. I noticed that the older boys kept their school books and supplies in tubs under their desk, rather than in the “press” (cabinets).

Thursday morning, I refused to say goodbye to my family, the McBain’s. I know one day I will see them, again. Words cannot describe the McBain’s because they are such a wonderful family. They were very hospitable, and they treated me as a guest in their home. I had such an amazing time getting to know them, and they provided me with so much information about the culture, the customs, and the history of their country. The experience was unbelievable, because the learning never ended at school, it only continued at home. I plan on keeping in touch with them via e-mail and/or letters.

Overall, looking back on this entire experience, I am very glad that I made the decision to continue my Student Teaching in Ireland. One of the challenges I handled was transitioning from teaching high school students to primary students. Before I came to Ireland, I was teaching seniors at Holly Springs High School. From teaching seniors English to teaching a 3rd class English is a huge transition, and it really caught me off guard. One of the biggest differences between secondary school and primary school is the classroom management. It took me a week and a half to get use to the constant noise of students talking amongst each other. Also, I noticed that as a primary teacher, you have to supervise and discipline more than in high school. At Johnstown BNS, I noticed that I would have to repeat myself, in order to get the students’ attention. Despite all of the disciplining, the boys were absolutely wonderful, intelligent boys. Mrs. Beham’s boys and I had so much fun reading Cool! by Michael Morpurgo together. I feel like buying the book, just in remembrance of the boys. My favorite memory was the boys asking me, while completing other work, “Ericka, are we going to be reading Cool! today?” Now, if I could get my future high school students to ask that same question, I would be a very happy teacher.

The boys were so amazing and fun to teach, it made leaving all the more a challenge. If Christmas was not around the corner, it would have been harder riding the plane home. This experience has truly encouraged me to pursue my dream to go overseas, as soon as I find a job. Even though I was not able to teach in a secondary school, I had such a great experience at Johnstown BNS. Thank you, Mr. Cadogan, for allowing me to Student Teach at your school. I am truly grateful that Appalachian State University had the International Student Teaching program. It was an experience I will never forget!

December 12, 2009

Dani - Week 6

This past week was spent traveling again as we have been done with teaching at San Ambrosio since Thanksgiving. I really did enjoy my time at the school in spite of all the frustrations that seemed to come along with it. It was a good experience to have and I would recommend it for anyone to try at least once. I now truly understand the importance for classroom management and how it needs to be implemented in that very first week of school. If not the rest of the year is a struggle to get through and a lot of time will be wasted with discipline issues like some that I had to deal with in my classroom(s) in Costa Rica.

Even though I can't say this experience was not always great for me or that its been my favorite trip overseas, I definitely took a lot away from it and I think I will be a better teacher now because of it. My patience has been tried and stretched from the students at San Ambrosio as well as from working with the other teachers. I know I have said it repeatedly, but I think the biggest thing I got from it was an appreciation for classrooms in the States and how much more organized it is. I also feel like we have more freedom here to do what we want with the curriculum. We do have set standards to meet, but we are free to teach in whatever style best suits us and our classroom. It isn't limited to lecture and teaching from a text book word for word and answering questions afterward.

One of the main reasons I decided to take this opportunity was to get some experience in an international school because I wanted to travel overseas at some point to teach. I still think I would like to do this at some point in my life, however I don't know that I would want to teach English in a Hispanic country unless it was on the high school level. I know not every school overseas is going to be like San Ambrosio, so things may be done differently elsewhere, but for now I will remain in the States and get a job wherever I can in the schools!

These are some monkeys that were climbing around in the palm trees at Playa Samara!

This is during the 'Festival of Lights' parade in downtown Nicoya. There were many school bands like this one that walked in the parade and played music.

This is Marty, a rescued kinkajou who lives at the zoo at Playa Carillo, which is just a short drive from Playa Samara. He is very friendly and good with humans, but because of this he will never be able to be released back into the wild.

December 11, 2009

Goodbye Guadalajara!

What a journey the past six weeks have been! There have been exciting times, frustrating times, happy and sad times, but through all, I can say that I have learned much and thoroughly enjoyed this unforgettable experience.

One thing that has truly inspired me during my time here is how the teachers at ASFG really do seek to do more than just teach their students-- they seek to turn them into individuals and great leaders. I know this was a constant topic of conversation in many of my classes at ASU, but to see it truly put into action has been a great learning experience for me. Here is an example: Last week three 2nd graders got up at our weekly flag assembly and shared the following message with their student body... Two of the girls, on their own time, had been reading "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortensen. They were very inspired by it and knew that there must be something they could do to help the education system in the Middle East. So they approached their teacher with the idea of a class project. Their teacher loved their idea so much that she encouraged them to go talk to the principal, and thus was born their school-wide (Pre-school thru 12th grade) campaign, called "Pesos for Peace". They have challenged every student in the school to give at least one peso in the next three weeks, and daily collect and count the money. As of this past week, they had already collected over 1500 pesos and are still going around to talk to classes about why what they are doing is so important. These are true leaders, and true leaders are never born without someone (maybe a teacher) to help them develop leadership skills. All I can really say to this is "WOW!"

Another huge thing that I have learned about teaching while here is how to integrate well. Throughout my time at ASU, this was something professors always urged us to do, but many of them also assumed that we already knew how to created a well integrated lesson. I would agree that this is very important, but this isnt something I had ever really learned how to do well. I was taking shots in the dark and hoping for the best. Because the studenst at ASFG receive 1/2 the instructional day in English and the other 1/2 in Spanish, a teacher's instructional time is greatly decreased, thus making it that much more important to integrate subject matter and to do it well. Spending time in an environment where integration is not just something that is good if it happens, but a necessity, has helped me to understand how to integrate subject matter well, as well as how much more valuable instruction can be when subjects are integrated. My teacher, Ms. Ivette, has a been teacher to learn from, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to spend six weeks learning from such a devoted and skilled professional.

My teacher, Ms. Ivette, and I

Although working with second language learners did provide a bit of a challenge at times, it was also lots of fun to see them learning, understanding new concepts, and taking in so much new knowledge and vocabulary like a sponge. Also, it was very difficult for to work a group of students from affluent homes, as that is not where my passion lies. Sometimes discipline was very difficult with this particular group of students, and at times I felt completely defeated, as they made it very obvious that they were used to being in charge and had no intentions of listening to the gringa who had only come into their lives for such a short period of time. However, it was interesting to see that, just as with many experiences I have had in the US, the ones who resisted discipline the most, were also the ones who were the saddest on my last day.



Overall, my experience outside of school was fabulous! I really enjoyed learning about Mexican culture and trying to immerse myself into it during my time in this huge city. I was very lucky to get to travel around some, as well as being a part of several true Mexican traditions such as the traditional Mexican fiesta, mariachi bands, and the Corrida del Toros (Running of the Bulls). And although the Health Departments in the US would surely not approve of many of the places I ate, I thorougly enjoyed getting to eat traditional Mexican cuisine daily. This included anything from fresh made quesadillas, tortas ahogadas, chilaquiles, and enchiladas, to a big ol' scoop of refried beans from the pot that had been sitting on the stove going on four days.

I would trade this experience for nothing else in the world, and cant wait to apply the things I have learned into my life as a teacher and professional, as I start my own journey of impacting children and creating leaders daily.

A beautiful view of the sunset on my trip to Zacatecas!

Adios Amigos!

December 9, 2009

Heather-Week 6 Ireland! Last week!




Hello again from Ireland!
I am sad to say that this is my last night in Ireland! Wow, time has surely flown by these past two weeks!!! What a wonderful time I have had though!

So, this past weekend, Ericka, Brittney, Grace and I did a one day paddywagon tour of the Giants Causeway and Derry. The Giant's causeway was definitely a breathtaking experience! The Giants Causeway is composed of various cliffs and basalt columns. The picture that I have above is a representation of the Giant's Causeway. We were able to climb different rocks on the causeway and meet friends from other places so it was just a wonderful, must see experience that I will never forget!

Also, this past week in school, some of the teachers at my school asked me if I would teach cheerleading to their girls. So I had a small cheerleading class in the assembly hall this afternoon where I was able to teach the girls some basic cheerleading motions, and two Rathdown cheers that I had made up for them. It was such an exciting experience because they loved it and I loved it. I was able to share my passion with students that did not realize cheerleading was even a sport. What an awesome opportunity it was for me! I was also notified that they would use the cheers at their future hockey matches so that filled me with joy! The picture above represents the small cheerleading class I conducted in the assembly hall today.

Well, I had to say my goodbyes today to the students and faculty at Rathdown Junior School. It was a bitter-sweet moment because I am very excited about returning to the United States and seeing friends and family and graduating from Appalachian State University, but I was sad to leave all the friends I had made and especially my P2 students who I have worked with every day over the past six weeks. The picture above represents a group hug that the students gave me before I left their classroom. I am so thankful that I got placed at Rathdown Junior School because I couldn't have asked for more respect or kindness from the students and teachers! I also was able to engage in further teaching experiences in various subjects!

Throughout my student teaching experience at Rathdown Junior School, I have grown as a teacher and an individual. I learned how to adapt to cultural differences and various teaching methods while student teaching at Rathdown School. This has helped me become more confident in meeting the needs of all students. Also, I have gained a higher appreciation for interactive, engaging lessons due to the lack of hands on lessons that were taught at Rathdown Junior School. Most of the lessons that were taught were taken right out of a book or workbook and then students were continuously reading and then writing answers to questions. I realize that text books and worksheets are useful at times but I felt that the students were not getting as much learning out of the lessons as they should have gained. I was able to incorporate a few educational math games to reinforce addition and subtraction skills, and it brought much excitement to the classroom.

In addition, I was encouraged by this experience to step out of my comfort zone at various times due to the different location, language, and culture. It allowed me to be more open minded as a teacher and encouraged me to embrace diversity in the classroom. Another thing that I noticed was the amount of respect given by the students toward the teachers at Rathdown Junior School. Due to the amount of respect that was present in the classroom, the students were driven to do their best work at all times and felt comfortable with asking questions throughout various lessons. I hope to create the same type of atmosphere and gain respect in my future classroom.

I will also be sad to leave my Irish family tomorrow morning! They have been so wonderful to me at all times! I am so glad I got to spend the end of my college experience in Ireland! I hope to take what I have learned from my international student teaching experience and apply it in my future classroom. This student teaching experience has also helped me to become a more independent individual! I am now very encouraged to travel more in the near future! I also hope to stay in touch with the friends I have made here and come back sometime in the future to visit again!

Thank you Dr. Angel and Diane Middleton for coordinating our International Student Teaching Program at Appalachian State University!! Thank you for helping me to become a stronger individual and teacher!

Back to the US i go!

Week 5 in Ireland and Italy - Dana Smith

This week was the best week of my life. It began with the worst week in Ireland though. I got sick with a sinus infection and felt terrible for days. After a quick recovery we went to a place called Johnnie Fox's which is the highest pub in Ireland by elevation. There we got a 3 course dinner, traditional Irish music and Irish dancing. This was an amazing experience and I loved every minute of it. The teachers at my school also went because it was for their Christmas party as a staff and it happened to be that we were going too. The next day began an amazing trip to Italy. Brett and I got on a plane and flew to Italy and spent a few days. We saw the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, The Vatican and The Sistine Chapel. We saw lots of other buildings as well. We can now go to Rome and get around pretty good because of being able to walk everywhere to see the sights. Without a doubt the most eventful, exciting and educational trip I have ever been on. Today was my last day at school too. It was sad seeing the students and staff off but I knew I had to. I got lots of cards, a calender of Ireland and a DVD of a very funny Irish show called Father Ted. I did a lot of PE lessons today and let the students pick their games to play. It was a very fun day but sad at the end. Overall I am so glad that I got to experience this teaching in Ireland and traveling. It was an eye opening experience and one I will never forget.


















December 7, 2009

Ericka Griffin - Week Five in Ireland

This week was very eventful at school. I was never sure which class I was going to end up in. Monday, I was not very happy about the situation I was in. One of the resource teachers used me as a teaching assistant, rather than a student teacher. I spent most of my day in the copy room, rather than the classroom. And, when I was done with copies, the teacher would tell me to organize papers and the room, as if I was not qualified to interact with the students.

However, Tuesday and Wednesday were good experiences. I went to another 3rd class (Mrs. Cruise’s), and her class was wonderful. I had a lot of fun interacting with her students. They taught me how to play Irish Snap, which is a card game. The objective of the game is to randomly flip over Irish cards with illustrations and Irish words. If a pair shows up in the pile, you slap the cards and you gain the entire pile. The objective of the game is to obtain all of the cards. Similar to my other 3rd class, I showed these boys the U.S.’s currency, my driver’s license, and my passports. Most of the boys had already seen American money, but were still thrilled to look at it and touch it.

On Thursday, I observed a 4th class (9 year-olds). The class had a very similar curriculum, except more advanced, to that of a 3rd class. My favorite part of the day was towards the end of the day, the teacher grabbed an acoustic guitar, and the teacher and the students began to sing. After going over the words with the students, the teacher allowed the boys to sing solo or as a group. It was absolutely wonderful to sit and listen to the children sing.

Friday, I had taken a train to Belfast, along with Heather, Grace, and Brittney (our friend from Minnesota). After settling at the Linen House Hostel, we decided to take a Black Taxi Tour of Belfast. Our tour guide was amazing! He told us the history of the political feud between the British and the Irish. He drove us to the Protestant side of the city, where we were able to see the political murals on the buildings. Next, he took us to see “The Wall,” or what he called, “The ‘Berlin Wall’ of Belfast,” which is the wall that divides the two sectors of the city. After taking pictures of “The Wall,” he took us to the Catholic side of the city. The Catholic side of the city contained “The Peace Wall,” where the faces of those who perished in times of turmoil and civil unrest were displayed. The memorial garden contained plaques, which listed the names of the Catholics who had perished. Overall, it was a very enjoyable and thought-provoking experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Belfast.

On Saturday, Heather, Grace, Brittney and I took a one-day Paddywagon Tour of Giant’s Causeway and Derry. The bus picked us up in Belfast, and we drove to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. The bridge was built by fishermen, who used to cross it, in order to get to the salmon that were caught in the curvature of the rock formation down below. After seeing the bridge, we visited Giant’s Causeway, which was my favorite part of the day. It was absolutely incredible to see such unusual rock formations, which were created by volcanic eruptions. After seeing Giant’s Causeway, we drove to Derry, where we had dinner. Derry, like Belfast, was also politically divided. In fact, when we arrived, news of a Protestant political march had spread. As we drove off, leaving for Belfast, we heard the band and the marching of the Protestants. Our Paddywagon tour guide/driver was nice enough to drive us all the way back to Dublin, which was wonderful because we did not have to take the train. It had been such an eventful weekend, on Sunday, I decided to rest all day, and I did not make any plans. I am very thankful that I did not, because I was well-rested for Monday.

Again, I have not had access to another computer, so I cannot upload pictures yet. As soon as I gain access to a computer with a working USB connection, I will upload pictures.

December 6, 2009

Week 5 Jerry

I think it is safe to say that everyone looks back at the end of their college career and is thankful that they made it through. Add me to that list because I reckon this blog entry is the last and final part of my college career. Like I said last week, classes at San Ambrosio finished on Thanks Giving day and I have been spending my whole week in a small surf town on the southwest part of Nicaragua, its called Las Salinas. It has been great catching up with old friends that are visiting Las Salinas and I have made some new friends from Nicaragua and Brazil. I have been surfing everyday which is always a plus but I have also had some time to give and bless the people of Nicaragua.
On Wednesday, my friends and I drove up into the mountains near Las Salinas and were able to give a very small community a whole truck bed full of clothes and athletic equipment. Before we arrived to the masses, we were able to give to one family and their friends. I enjoyed this much more than our next destination simply because it was more intimate and personal. The next village we arrived in was quite different, in fact it was very overwhelming. While it truly is better to give than receive, the rate in which these people took was extremely humbling and sad. We pulled up to a house along a dry dusty road and my Nicaraguan friend got out to talk to the family of the house where we had stopped. The whole family of 8 came out including their 95 year old grandma. As soon as we started handing stuff out the people started pouring out of everywhere. It was quite astonishing that without any electricity or telephones, the whole village was aware that we were there and that we were giving away clothes for all ages, baseballs, soccer balls, footballs, baseball gloves, baseball helmets, and even a volleyball. At first it was nice because we were able to talk to the people and figure out what they needed, but this only lasted for a second and it got a little out of hand. We were giving away so much stuff so fast that before we knew it the whole truck was empty, including some things that we didn’t want to give away or weren’t supposed to give away, including my hat that my friends 5 year old son threw out the window and was quickly snatched by an old lady never to return to my head, ha. At one point we had to guard the inside of the truck to make sure people were not taking stuff out of inside the cab. We finally got things settled down and were able to share with these people the real reason we were there. Yes it is nice to give and yes these are good works but my friends in I believe that good works don’t make good people, but good people do good works. What we were saying is that the reason why we give is because we follow a God who has given more than we can ever imagine, and his name is Jesus. As soon as the crowd hushed down a little, my Nicaraguan friend stood on top of the truck and read some passages from the gospel of John. When we left we all felt good about giving but even better about sharing the good news of Jesus.
I guess you could say that I am a pretty different guy, and in more ways than one at that. With that being said, I have already said my goodbyes to Boone and App State and will not be returning to walk during the graduation ceremony. Instead I will be living in Costa Rica until about March, only to return back to Hatteras Island where I grew up and will probably live the rest of my life. Although I could teach in Hatteras and live there forever, I am just going to take it one day at a time and try not to think that far ahead.

December 4, 2009

Dani - Week 5

This past week has been exciting and full of traveling and experiencing new things! Since our students finished school last week, Kayla and I have been seeing different parts of Costa Rica with only one of them including Jerry since he decided to go surfing and head to Nicaragua.

Last Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with dinner at Karla´s house (which is where Kayla and I have been staying). We had over the neighbors and some friends we have met here in Nicoya. For dinner we had a turkey (cooked Paula Deen style by Karla), gravy, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cheese casserole, corn, macaroni and cheese, a salad and veggie tray, and (of course) some good ´ol southern sweet tea! Before we ate, everyone went around and said what they were thankful for this year since thats something we do back home in the States.

That next Friday Jerry, Kayla and I headed to Ostional to hang out. We took a bus that dropped us off in Nosara (after breaking down on the way there and moving to a different bus) and then the three of us walked the way to Ostional... with a couple of rides along the way. While at Ostional, we got to see some turtles coming up on the beach to lay their eggs and some who just made a u-turn after deciding it was probably too much of a struggle to go any further. Ostional is a small town and one of their main sources of income comes from the turtle eggs. Many nests are protected, but the locals are allowed a certain amount of time in which they are allowed to dig up eggs from the nests and collect the eggs to sell for food. It was definitely interesting to see the beach covered with people digging up the eggs and to see the turtles up close.


Kayla and I came back to Nicoya on Saturday and helped our neighbor´s daughter, Adriana, celebrate her 18th birthday! She had a lot of friends over and her mom cooked some amazing tipical food. There was also birthday cake, of course!


On Sunday Kayla and I were dropped off at Tamarindo which is a very popular beach, especially for surfing. There were a lot of English-speaking people there so it was easy for us to get around. The beach was beautiful and the water was cool and clear. Boats were scattered right off of the coast all day and surfers were out on the opposite end. It wasn´t too crowded when Kayla and I were there, though when it gets closer to the Holidays I´m sure it will be.


After Tamarindo we headed to La Fortuna which was about a 5 hour drive on the Interbus. In La Fortuna we stayed at a Hostel called Gringo Petes´ for $4 a night and got some super deals on activities we wanted to do. We visited Baldi Hot Springs one afternoon and caught a volcano tour that same night with another hot springs that was right off the side of the road and free to visit. The volcano tour was a bit of a disappointment because it was cloudy and we weren´t able to see any lava.. but we met some interesting people that were in our group! The next day we went canyoning/rappeling in the morning. This was by far my favorite part of our trip to La Fortuna! We had great tour guides and slid down waterfalls, jumped into small pools of water and rappelled down a 220 foot waterfall! That afternoon we went zip lining through the canopy and saw some toucans right above us in the trees! We spent the rest of that afternoon relaxing in some more hot springs at a place called Los Lagos.




I have loved being able to travel around and experience more of Costa Rica. It has been a fun challenge to be getting around on our own without Karla´s help. The people here are so friendly, especially the other travelers we have met from the States, Germany, Australia, Switzerland and Canada! I really enjoy the culture and am sad that we´ll be leaving this warm weather in less than a week... but I am very much looking forward to returning home and graduating!

Adios from Nicoya!


December 3, 2009

Fifth week in Nicoya!

WOW! What a week! Since school ended the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Dani and I set out to explore and experience the beauty of Costa Rica Friday monring, after a wonderful American Thanksgiving meal! For Thanksgiving Karla prepared a Paula Deen style turkey and sweet potato casserole (with Costa Rican sweet potatoes of course), we also served a few more dishes and made up a pitcher of sweet tea! You can´t get more American and Southern than that!! We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with some of Karla´s firends and new friends that we have made during our stay here! It was very nice, we shared the tradition of our Thanksgiving of going around before dinner and saying what you are thankful for! It was great to share our American way of Thanksgiving with our Costa Rican friends.

Friday morning we woke up early and headed to Ostional excited to see a black sand beach and the Olive Ridley sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs! After one broken down bus, a very bumpy ride on another, and an 40 min walk we finally arrived in Ostional. We went striaght to the beach when we got there and were able to see quite a few turtles coming out of the ocean to lay eggs! Ostional is an area where scientists and biologists study the Ridley turtles. Also in this area Ostional villagers are able to legally harvest turtle eggs in the first 36 hours of an arrival of eggs. So, while we were walking along the beach they were many Ticos laying on the beach digging holes in search of a nest. This was interesting to learn about because even though a small percentage of turtles actually survive after birth, the community is allowed to remove some the eggs that may possibly survive for commercial purposes. Yet, there are many nests on the beach that are blocked off and villagers cannot collect eggs from these areas.

After we left Ostional we traveled to Costa Rica´s surf capital Playa Tamarindo. There we just spent time on the beach enjoying the beautiful weather and swimming in the clear blue water! Dani and I just returned today from La Fortuna and we had a great time. While in La Fortuna we visited three hot springs, the Arenal Volcano, and we rappelled down 4 waterfalls, one that was 220 feet tall! We also ziplined at Los Lagos Resort! We had an amazing time, got some great pictures, and really got to experience the beauty of Costa Rica like we wanted! For the remainder of our time here we plan to visit some more beaches and soak up as much sun as we can before returning to NC!!!

Maria-- Week 5 in Mexico!

This week has been really great! If you read my last update, you know that I was writing from a small town named Zacatecas, where I spent a short break that I had. The rest of my time there was just as much fun as the first part. In fact, I think I would have stayed forever if I could have! One night, I even got to go to the Lighting of the Christmas Tree celebration in the town square. It was very neat to how the whole town came together for this one event which, I didnt realize until I got back to the hostel, lasted about 3 hours!


On Sunday, when I returned to GDL, I got to do another thing that I have been dying to do... I got to go the Corrida del Toros (Running of the Bulls)! Even more interesting, this one showcased child toreros. Although some things were a little different, such as the children not beign allowed to actually kill the bull like usual, this was the last event of the season and I still feel that it was a great cultural experience. It was very stressful to sit there and watch people so close to such a dangerous animal, but it was also lots of fun to hear the shouts of "Ole!" all around and to take in what a huge part of Mexican culture this event is. I loved every minute of it!




This week at school has been good, although you can tell the students know the holiday season is quickly approaching. They are starting to go crazy, and being an international school, students and their families are beginning to take trips to visit family and friends in many different countries. It is also very interesting to see the wide variety of holidays celebrated by students around the school, and to hear about the family traditions. While I am here, my teacher has wanted to go ahead and study the traditions of Christmas with our class, since she wants the students to learn about Christmas traditions in the United States. Earlier this week, we did a lesson using "The Night Before Christmas" by C.C. Moore, a very traditional story. I have also been teaching a lot of math lately. We just started a unit on addition with regrouping. This has been really fun to teach so far and the students seems to be understanding it pretty well.


I cant believe that in just 7 short days, I will be on my way back to NC. My time here is flown by so quickly and it is hard to think that I only have four days left with my class. I know the next week is going to fly by!

Nos vemos! See you later!