Today I took an extra-long walk to get to the nicer showers. They were pretty much bug-fee. They were so much better than the ones closer to the cabins. It was very refreshing. After getting dressed we headed out to go to the school. We taught the 8th graders again and we helped them finish up their Scratch projects. After they finished we had a show and tell. Everyone went around the room and looked at the other kids’ work. After their class was finished we had a long break. Some of us needed to do laundry so we went to the Laundromat. While our laundry was in the washing machine, we went over to the smoothie place. Today I got a cookies and cream shake. We got our smoothies and headed back over to the Laundromat. Our laundry was done and we put it in the dryer, twice. Our dryer finished and we headed back to the school with 5 minutes to spare. We had to go upstairs for the 4th graders.
Today we helped them script their drawings. We had them script the drawings to collect things and have those things disappear. That class was only 40 minutes. When it was over we headed back downstairs to go teach the 6th graders. Only 2 showed up because the rest went to a fair that they were invited to attend. We had Katie M. and Ryan teach the two girls that were there. The rest of us worked on our unfinished lessons. Since I was done I helped tweak other people’s lessons. 7th graders were next and we helped them finish their Scratch projects. Some finished early so we started them on Etoys. When there was 5 minutes left of class we did a show and tell. After that we packed up. We headed over to the grocery store, again. I got more bug spray, the one that actually works, and an underwater camera for when we go snorkeling. After finishing up we went back to the cabins. We got out of the car and went to the front desk to sign up for dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning. When we sign up we write down what food we want for dinner and breakfast. I had a cheeseburger with fries tonight and for tomorrow morning I wrote down French toast. I have not had that yet, but Katie M. and Linda both say that it tastes great. My group, Ryan, Sarah, Katie B., and me, went back to our cabin. Sarah, Katie B., and Ryan all went to the beach, which is right in our front yard! I fell asleep until dinner time at 6. We had dinner and after dinner everyone dispersed. I was still up at the dinning pavilion writing my blog, which I had forgotten to do until this very minute. Today was a long and tiring day, but it was totally worth it. I love seeing the kids’ faces light up when we are with them. It’s definitely what gets me up in the early hours of the morning.
We woke up this morning and it was one of the first mornings I did not take a shower. I have been doing everything possible to avoid the bugs, but I am proving unsuccessful. However, teaching these kids makes me ok with every bite I get because it is an amazing experience. There is a boy in the 8th grade morning class that has set his sights on Harvard. As a class we are all being his biggest advocates to keep at his activities and his schooling to make that dream come true. We have all realized that the education opportunities here are so much different than what we are accustomed to. Watching some kids develop their skills and get so excited by their abilities is such a rewarding experience. Today, we taught several classes and they all went pretty well. The last class, a class of seventh graders, was quite the handful. I was placed with three students that were all at different levels in the programs. I worked furiously trying to balance the different learning of these kids and it was challenging to say the least. I would have thought that I could balance teaching multiple kids at different levels, but I was very wrong. Although, it did prove to help me to increase my patience. Teaching these kids is showing me how lucky I am for opportunities to go to a school like CSG and have the ability to take a trip like this. It is an amazing feeling to come into school and watch kids smile and laugh as they watch their skills on the computer grow. No matter how many times I get bitten or how many times I get stung by bees I am so appreciative for this opportunity. It is showing me how much of a difference trips like this can make and I am so thankful that I have this opportunity. It is only day 4 with the kids and I have fallen in love with teaching them.
Clean sheets tonight. Clean laundry for tomorrow. Girls that are getting into the groove of teaching and taking in stride the fact that we don’t have all the creature comforts of home. Young students that are (mostly) engaged and interested in what we are sharing. Sunshine. White sands. A nice breeze. Good food. Sound sleep. Ice cream for dessert. Cars that work. Things are pretty good.
Thursday of the first week typically shows a lull in energy, and it seems this year is no different. It’s usually the time when everyone is still looking ahead to five more days of teaching, wondering how will we ever make it all the way through. But now I’ve got experience on my side. By the time tomorrow ends and we have our three day weekend of relaxation and no structure, time will fly by and the students will be sad to leave at the end of next week. It happens every year.
I am hearing some really great comments from the students. Like how much they appreciate their parents and all that they have been given. How rewarding it is to work with the students and share their knowledge with others. How great it is to get to know the JESS students. How fun it is to get hugs from the students, be called from down the hall, and be treated like celebrities. While some are not necessarily relishing the down time we have, EVERYONE absolutely loves the time at the school. And since we are there from 9:30-3:00, the time here is passing quickly.
In years past I’ve told students they must be ready for anything. This has held true again this year for many reasons. Yesterday’s adventure with the dead car battery is one example. The fact that they felt comfortable teaching without us – and doing so successfully – is testament to their flexibility and confidence. Every year there are events like today’s fair that either cancel class outright or cause us to quickly reverse course and change our lesson plans for the day. This has already happened twice this week – once today and once with the eighth graders on Tuesday – and the girls adapt beautifully. They take the shift in gears completely in stride and move on. They think on their feet, they respond to the changes, and they forge ahead. I wish all you parents could see your daughters in these situations.
I hope you enjoy all the photos. Hollis is a much better photographer than I am! She is a great addition to our team, for so many reasons! It’s great to have her along.