Saturday, November 17, 2012

My New Best Friend...

So much rain, even more noise.
... is my blue polka-dotted umbrella.

It has been raining like crazy this week. The rain here is different. It kind of just starts without any warning, most of the time it rains for like 5 minutes and then stops just as suddenly. The sun remains out and usually the rain is pretty hard to see because it is so light...

On Monday it rained all day, and this rain was uncharacteristically dense. Teacher friends, I'm going to tell you right now that you have not had to use a teaching voice until you've had to teach all day in a classroom with a tin roof while it pours outside. Not to mention that you have to keep the windows and doors open so that you don't roast in your classroom. It is impossibly loud and difficult to make sure you're being heard and more importantly understood over all that noise. This weather persisted throughout most of the week but gradually let up.

The Winners!
On Friday Monchy had their annual road race. Students in Grades 3-6 paid a dollar to participate in a type of marathon on the roads around the school. In the school's physical education program there are four different houses; Sunflower (yellow), Marguerite (blue), Hibiscus (red), and Lily (green). Each student is assigned a house for the duration of their time at the school (kind of like in Harry Potter, but it's only for gym class and as far as I know Monchy doesn't use a hat to sort the students). Then the houses compete against each other in different activities, like the annual road race. 60 medals and 6 trophies were given to the first 30 boys and the first 30 girls to complete the race. Then the house that won the marathon is announced, a house wins the marathon by having the more individuals from that house complete the race than the other houses. So if Sunflower had the most student complete the race they would win, even if Lily had won all of the medal and trophies... it's actually a pretty logical system even if I'm doing an inadequate job of explaining it.
Jenai crossing the finish!

Anyway.... the students started at the school and ran up the road a ways and then turned around and ran back. There were multiple water stations along the route that the teachers worked with students that weren't running. I was assigned to the half way point station. My main job was recording the numbers of the students that ran past so that we knew all of the students had run the entire distance. Cheating is a big concern here in academics and athletics. The culture encourages competition, and with competition comes cheating. Fortunately I didn't hear about any cheaters on Friday so I'm assuming everyone ran a clean, fair race.

Just finished the race, exhausted
Because I was at the half way point my job was done before the race was over so I got the chance to head back to the school and cheer some students across the finish line. My favorite moment of the day was seeing Jenai finish. Jenai is a grade four girl and is confined to a wheelchair. She is not in my class, so I don't know her that well but she is awesome. Jenai ran the entire race and didn't even finish last! She had a couple different people help push her along the way but I know that she also did a lot of the work herself. She made a point of crossing the finish line without any assistance. As she rolled up to the finish all of the students and teachers started to cheer for her and I could just feel the pride radiating through the crowd for her. It was awesome.

One of my favorite pictures so far
The race took maybe two hours to wrap up, but the students didn't have class for the rest of the day so there was a lot of down time. I personally was confused and frustrated because I know that I could have been using that time to teach or do something productive and organized with students but instead the entire day of classes was cancelled for a relatively short activity. I suppose that is just a difference between St. Lucia and the States though... nothing I can do to change it.

They love my red sunglasses
Right now I am sitting at a cafe in town and having my first cup of coffee in a month. I am so happy right now. I even pulled a super hipster move and took a picture of my coffee, that is how excited I am about it. Plus, Taylor Swift is playing on the radio. This is shaping up to be an exceptional day.

I almost forgot! In grammar this week we learned about conjunctions... guess what I used to teach the lesson? If you guessed Schoolhouse Rock,  Conjunction Junction you are correct! We watched it at least 6 times in class plus all of the times I watched it to prepare the lesson. Needless to say it has been stuck in my head all week. In case you forgot how it goes, I'll leave this clip here for you... 

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