Lessons Learned: Week 3

It feels like the first three weeks have been an adjustment period. The first week was a honeymoon and finding my way in the world here. The second week I started to make acquaintances with people other than Joaquin and the teachers. Unfortunately, I seemed to lack the capacity to just relax and spent the third week recovering from fatigue and cold symptoms. But it feels like I’ve hit a stride. I am able to get what I need to done and not feel pressured 24/7. So what did I learn this week?

Things seldom go according to plan back home and never go according to plan here where I have to use a second language.

I came with activities to fill time in case an entire class that had nothing to do. I’ve had to develop puzzles and other things for students who finish in class assignments early.

“Gringo” is the term people use here to refer to those of us from Europe or from the US of European decent. It would be odd at home to refer to or call someone whose name you don’t know by an ethnic slang term, but here it is common and intends no malice or offense. One new friend forgot my name and when we exchanged contact information, I saw her enter my contact name in her phone as “gringo.”

I learned the “pescado frito” may translate to “fried fish” but don’t expect fish and chips style fillets. I also learned how to eat fish when they cook and serve the fish whole. Watch out for those bones.
Instinctively telling someone to “watch out” is useless here. I need to learn to respond with “cuidado”.

“Bailando” by Enrique Inglesis is an amazing song.

A better appreciation for how much kids love music. I brought a small Bluetooth speaker with me and we play music in class the last five minutes while we collect supplies and do other tasks. The girls love it and hand us song requests throughout the day. One of the best tools I brought with me.

23 thoughts on “Lessons Learned: Week 3

      1. Prior-2001

        Oh yes – I forgot about how hoarse my voice would get -‘and not sure what you have access to – but honey is very soothing on throat – zinc drops especially – but they might be hard to get – and then slippery elm lozenges are great for throat – and of course good ol salt gargles.
        Oh and coconut oil or a good olive oil (or any really good fat) can sometimes help the throat and entire body!

        I also found that if I moved around when I spoke – it helped me to breathe better from my gut – which in turn placed less stress on the actual vocal chords – but sometimes rest was the best – and I made diagrams of set up activities to have more discussion and less only me – not sure if this would work in your class – cos as you know it depends on subject and lesson content – 😉
        Just a few things to think about….

  1. Miss Gentileschi

    Great post! I always am thrilled to read the next one 🙂 Time flies by when you´re having fun, right? 😉 But please: take very good care of your voice! It´s a highly sensitive “organ” (?) – I´ve lost mine twice already in my life and it took months to recover! Best advice I can give you: relax, drink a lot and believe it or not: yawn as much as possible! This can easily be “forced” and it helps relax your vocal chords. I know, it´s not easy, but try to make it clear to the kids that it´s not good for your health when you have to raise your voice all the time.
    Love, how you pointed out the special magic of music 😉 Cheers!

  2. Nancy

    Music is loved around the world by almost everyone. So glad you brought that bluetooth speaker. Sorry for your cold… feel better and the 4th week will bring an adventure. Wait, No… you are already on an adventure!

  3. John M

    You may choose to ignore it, but make no mistake: “gringo” is a pejorative term. Try any dictionary you like: http://www.onelook.com/?w=gringo&ls=a

    Perhaps they mean no offense. And perhaps the older folks in the US who still refer to African-Americans as “coloreds” or worse mean no offense, either.

    Since you are teaching children, wouldn’t it be a good idea to point out that the term is offensive?

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Ethnicity is a very deep topic. I’m sharing my perceptions. In the US people were commonly referred to as “coloreds” and worse. They were also further marginalized through systematized segregation. People here have been nothing but generous, kind and accepting of me. Again this is just my perception based on my experience in one area. Cheers!


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