Reflections on the Year: M&V

5 06 2011

Everything has Changed:  A Reflection of the Year Living Abroad

One year (well, 10 months).  I have changed. A lot.  It is simple to say; simple to write, but impossible to wrap my head around in its’ entirety.  It is hard to look past this past year and think of a more monumental year in my life.  Sure there was graduating both high school and college, there was getting married and a litany of other important times in my life but this has been an entire year of challenges, events and…change.  But with all this talk of metamorphosis I couldn’t tell you how I have changed, I just know I have.  My outlook on life: my marriage, myself, my family, my career – they are all different, all have been revolutionized.  How?  I don’t know.  What I do know is I like the change.  I needed it.  I have a life to live, and I feel like I am doing just that.  Living.

-M

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“Schooool’s out for Summa”:  A Reflection of the School Year

We have made it to June.  June marks the end of the school year and the beginning of the rainy season.  It seems like just a month ago I was coping with my first experience of being in a place where you could actually not see the sun for days on end.  As I sit in my dark house at 5:30, I wonder, how did this daily rain creep up again so quickly, and more importantly, can I continue calling June and July “summer” when it’s cold and raining everyday?  Probably not… so this leads me to my second question.  On the last day of school, would it be appropriate to sing the obligatory Alice Cooper song, “School’s out for summer!”?  Damn.  “School’s out for ‘green-season'” is just lame.

Green Season or not, this year has been so monumental to my growth as a teacher.  I can’t say I have ever had a year where I went through more changes than this year.  I have had to learn how to deal with the cultural differences, ie. names that I couldn’t pronounce, last minute schedule changes, and trying to start class on time when everyone else is on the dreaded “Tico-time”.  Also, Country Day has provided me with great liberties as a teacher.  I am able to teach for understanding and not for a standardized test.  I have had the opportunity to see the difference between a 32 student class to a 12 student class.  The expectation that every student has a laptop has also opened so many doors for my students and me.  It has all been so eye opening and I know I have improved as a teacher.

I think my opinion of my kids changed drastically as well.  I started the year with the expectation of these kids being something close to aliens.  In my head, they would sit quietly and absorb every ounce of information I had to give them.  They would all turn in their work on time, neatly labeled, and 100% correct.  Obviously, I let my imagination get the best of me and I failed to remember what I KNEW 11 year old kids to be: messy, needy, loud, awkward, and ridiculously sweet.  Once all of my stupid preconceptions were shattered, I began to have a great time with my kids!  They laugh at my jokes.  They read books.  And I mean, they REALLY read the books… at home!  They thank me after every class.  They turn their work in on time (most of them).  I have constantly set a higher and higher mark for them this year, and everyone of them has tried their very best to meet that mark.

Next year I will make the move to 8th grade language arts.  I will have the kids that Miguel had this year, and Miguel will have my kids.  I’m looking forward to it.  And I’m going to try my best to be realistic in my expectations this time!  But, first, I have to make it through this rainy season.

-V

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3 responses

5 06 2011
Sandy

WOW – I am so proud of you. I can only imagine how your lives have changed. I look forward to hearing all about your “summer”.

6 06 2011
Brian

Hopefully we will help you get through the rainy season…can’t wait for Saturday!

6 06 2011
Dana

Miguel and Vanessa, congrats on making it through your first year abroad. It is exciting to keep up with your experiences. Best wishes for another year!

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