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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!


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 11, 2009 10:04 PM.

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