Its Saturday in Candelaria, meaning there isn’t much to do, and today there is even less as I am feeling really ill. So I thought I would give you all another update. This week has been super busy teaching in the primary school so I imagine we are both going to be exhausted next week when we are teaching in the high school until half 5! We absolutely adore our children and are really starting to get to know their funny little personalities and their tricks to get out of doing work, such as pretending they don’t understand, even when we repeat ourselves in Spanish. On reflection, coming here I was living in a bit of a trance, fooling myself that all the children would be perfectly behaved and so grateful for myself and lauryn. This however is far from the truth. Many of these young people, especially my sixth grade, are very disengaged, I’m no stranger to young people who carry the ‘bad apple’ label from working at the youth centre. But when its all in Spanish, its a lot harder to combat, and, if I’m being honestly my sixth grade has nearly brought me to tears on countless occasions- but please don’t tell them that. My sixth grade consists of 30 boys and 3 girls, the boys have mostly been held back 1 or 2 years so many are 15 and 16, and yes, they have all the attitude that goes with it. As is traditional in this part of the country many carry machetes and all of them enjoy spending English mimicking me, fighting each other and making dog noises. Many of my nights have been spent trying to plan engaging lessons, all of them are very active so I tried last week to teach them through sports outside. However, this resulted in lots of fights, me being threatened with a piece of wood and Mario getting stuck in a very large tree. Please remind me not to try that again. Yesterday, I tried something new, we are currently learning time so I gave them a bag of craft and tasked them with making a clock with moving hands, and, it worked! Marlon, a young man with a pretty aggressive side but an appalling home life, for the first time ever sat through the whole class, participated and even asked for a photo with his work. I could not have been prouder. But then something very bad happened…
Here many teachers only show up when they feel like it, hence my fourth grade were without a teacher last week as she was ‘travelling’. So following this behaviour, on Friday the teachers left their classes for a 1 and a half hour meeting shut in the head teachers office. While this was going on every student in the school were left to their own devices, including the 5 year olds in first grade. There was no supervision except for myself and Lauryn who were in opposite parts of the school teaching. So, as you can imagine, something bad was destined to happen. A young man in my sixth grade who had been sent out for bad language, tried to steal a ball from a boy in fifth grade and consequently a rather big school brawl broke out . I would have had no problem getting in the middle if it weren’t for the boys tendency to carry and play with machetes. After quickly calling Lauryn we both managed to split it up and decipher lots of Honduran arguing, however, after informing the head teacher the meeting continued and Lauryn and I preceded to spend the day attempting to teach and monitor hundreds of other small children. By Friday afternoon we were exhausted, but we mustered up the energy to jump in the back of the truck to go and watch a ‘day of the flag’ parade, which was a nice way to get to know some of the local girls.
Our job for next week is to try to get on top of behaviour as in the primary school there are very little rules or consequences other than a liberal use of the cane. Although, I’m sure this task is going to be a lot more taxing than first expected.
Bye for now,