28 October 2010

I like colegio, really. Really.

Because some people (who will remain nameless) have talked about the fact that I have been slacking on my blogging duty. They've had to read other's blogs just to catch up on my life! So I've tried to remedy that.

And so I will talk about Colegio and the perils thereof.

Oh, Colegio
This, in a photo, is how I feel after every colegio class.

Colegio is duro. And for those of you who don't speak Spanish, that means HARD.  I am teaching 14 students from ages 12 to 17 basic level English. Basic level English means that most of the instruction needs to be in Spanish. So every Wednesday through Friday, I spend a few hours feeling like an idiot, trying to describe superlative adjectives, in Spanish, to my students.

And the students themselves are...okay. Some are very amazing. Some are really interesting people individually, and then they get into their little groups, and talk and talk and talk. And some still have problems staying in their own seats during class! Really, you'd think that by 8th grade you'd have mastered the idea of sitting down during class. Ergh.

I also had to learn an entirely new grading system. They use a scale of 1-20 here, and so I've had a self-taught crash course in Microsoft Excel, trying to average class scores and participation points and whatnot. It makes me miss Wasilla High's iParent, and I never, ever, ever thought I'd say that.

I also have some problems with materials. Its such a different atmosphere from the resource room at our public schools in America. There is no copier here. The students buy their own books (I'm still waiting, and begging, and ordering a few students in my class to GET THEIR FRIKIN BOOKS) and when I give tests (like this friday) they have to bring the 3 cents a copy it costs, individually. Which makes it hard to hand out lots of papers and teaching resources, like crossword puzzles and the like.

I think the hardest part is that I have to be mean. I have to take away their participation points when they talk. I have to say "Silencio, por favor" multiple times, sometimes multiple times to the same person. I have to give them a 10.33 (on a 20 point scale) when they never do their homework, show up to class late, and never even do their classwork. Grr...

Anyways, I'm looking into this as a challenge, a test that I'll have to overcome on my YOS. And, because I've been memorizing Hidden Words recently, here's some (in Spanish and English) that have helped me detach when I'm feeling frustrated and ineffective and annoyed...

O Son of Spirit! Ask not of Me that which We desire not for thee, then be content with what We have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself.*

No Me pides lo que no deseamos para ti; conténtate, pues, con lo que hemos ordenado para ti, porque esto es lo que te beneficia si con ella te contententas.*

O Son of Man! For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials.**

¡OH HIJO DEL HOMBRE!  Hay un signo para cada cosa. El signo del amor es la fortaleza en Mi decreto y la paciencia ante Mis pruebas.**

*Los Palabras Ocultas, número 18 del Árabe
**The Hidden Words,  #48 from the Arabic

25 October 2010

The thing about sisters

Recently, some people, like Maryam and Elika, have talked about their siblings on their blogs (I recommend you read them.) And I was also talking about siblings with some other people recently. And it made me think about my sister, and how she's amazing.

If random people read my blog (and according to my stats, people from Japan, Brazil, and China read my blog, so I can assume they do) they may not know that I have a sister. I do. Her name is Cori, and she lives in Alaska, and she's the bestest sister in the world.

When people here ask me about my siblings, I tell them "Sí, tengo una hermanita que tiene 17 años." Their response is always "Chévere" which means "awesome", and its true. Having a sister is awesome. Especially when your sister is a speedy bandido on the Varsity State Champion XC running team, wears her sweatpants so low they're below her butt (luckily with shorts underneath), and made up her own dance to Mulan's "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" song.

I think Cori and I get along better on different continents. Because sometimes we fight, like most siblings do. We're not Lizzy and Jane (I mean, come on, Jane Austen, I love you, but that sisterly relationship is just not very realistic.) but we get on alright. Although she does eat all the cookie dough, and has some weird music tastes.

But the nice thing about being away from home, is that you get all nostalgic. Which means you remember the good times, like ukulele/random instrument jam seshes and watching Glee and sunbathing on the porch. And you forget just how annoying the annoying parts were. Recently, I've been maybe possibly feeling a bit of home queasiness (props to Elika for the word home-queasiness, which perfectly describes the state of feeling nostalgic and missing your family and home without actually having it negatively affect your life) and so this blog is a shout out to Cori. You're an awesome sister, even if you don't read my blog on a regular basis, or text other people whilst you're skyping me, or whatever. A llama will be coming in the mail for you, take it as a token of my appreciation for your sisterliness. Love you!

Most pictures are worth 1000 words; this one's worth a million.