Friday, March 30, 2012

Progress in the Past Month

It's hard to believe we've been here for 2 and a half months already. The time is absolutely flying by!

This past month has been particularly eventful. For starters, a volunteer group from Stonehill came down a few weeks ago to work here for a week. It was absolutely wonderful to have some familiar faces around here for a week, especially my friend Rachel! In addition to being an absolutely wonderful friend, she's an incredible artist. At one point during the week, she drew a few of my students, and they went crazy over her drawings! They are still talking about them to this day. The rest of the group came to the school at different parts of the week, and they all really connected with the girls. Most groups don't really talk or interact with the girls, but my students really enjoy having visitors and meeting the volunteer groups that come down.

This past week was the second round of exams for my girls. I felt like such a proud mom to all my students because they all did so well! Out of 36 exams, only 2 girls failed. While I was upset about those girls failing, it was a lot fewer than the first round of exams. One of my students is kind of a slacker, and she doesn't seem to try or study that hard. She failed her first exam a month ago, and I had to talk to her mom afterwards and see how we could help improve her scores. I gave this student a study guide for this exam, and told her mom about it so she would study the weekend before the exam. My student told me she studied, but when I asked her review questions the day before, she wasn't getting any of the correct! In fact, I asked her the same question 3 times and she got it wrong every time! You can imagine how nervous and unhopeful I was to grade her exam. Well that girl who seemed to know so little got an 80%! She literally doubled her score from her first exam! (And she finally got that question I asked her 3 times right.) I was so proud that I wrote her name in the book of accomplishments. She hugged me 3 times when I told her how well she did. It's the little moments like these that have made my time here so special.

It was a little sad today after exams ended today, because I had to say goodbye to the girls for a whole week! We all have vacation this week, and while I'll miss them, I'm pretty excited for this week. Alex and I are leaving for Copán tomorrow to see the Mayan ruins, and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. Say a little prayer for us for safe travels!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Who doesn't love a good book?

The past 2 months have been absolutely incredible. I have fallen in love with each one of my students, I am able to communicate (not very well, and not all the time) in another language, and I've gained a newfound respect for every teacher I've ever met. As corny as it sounds, Honduras has given me so many reasons to smile. But with that, I've also had many moments of frustration. The biggest problem is with the library. It's smaller than my room at my house, and it's barely half filled with books. There are a few reference books on each subject, some old magazines, and only one or two shelves for books the girls would enjoy reading. Every Wednesday my two grades have Taller de Lectura (Reading Workshop) where they pick out a book from the shelf and read for an hour. For most of the girls, this is the only time they read for fun during the week. I'm not sure that they have a strong desire to read, but when they do get a book they actually enjoy, it's hard for them to put it down. The problem is, there aren’t many books for the girls to read, and the school doesn't have enough money to afford new books. The other day, a girl from my segundo ciclo, Angeles, was looking for a book to read. You should know that Angeles is very intelligent. She is one of those girls in the class who isn't allowed to answer questions after a certain point because the other students need to answer too. And she loves to read. Actually, love is an understatement. The other day I had to take away her book during class because she was reading instead of paying attention (though I doubt I was teaching anything she didn't already know). When she was looking for a book the other day, she picked up The Giving Tree. I told her she wasn't allowed to read that book because it was far too easy. She started to complain until she opened it up and saw that there were only 1 or 2 sentences on each page. (She read the entire Harry Potter series last year.) So I handed her A Wrinkle in Time. She didn't want to read it, but I told her if she doesn't like it after a few pages, she could get a new one. About 15 or 20 minutes later I found her 2 chapters into the book, and absolutely loving it. She finished it 2 days later. She found a new book during Taller de Lectura this week, and later on that day I found her half way through reading it. Digna, another bright gem in my segundo ciclo (who is best friends with Angeles) says that she doesn't like books, but she likes the book she's reading. I got her to admit that she actually does like books, but it has to be a good page-turner book. The point is, the girls love to read! More importantly, they NEED to read. I hope I don't have to write any more sentences to convince you of the importance of reading - we all know how important it is for kids to read.

I'm not solely writing this to voice a concern, however, I would also like to ask for a bit of help. If you find it in your heart to help the girls out, and if your wallet finds itself with a few extra bucks, check out the schools "Wish List" on The link is posted below. You can purchase a book on the list, and it will be sent directly to the school. The only thing you have to worry about is which one to pick out. Of course the only this I ask from everyone reading this is your support in my year here, no gifts are required. Although my birthday is coming up in early May and if you'd like to buy one of the books as a present this year, I'll guarantee I'll like yours the most. Thank you so much in advance, but most importantly thank you for all of the support you have given me thus far.

Click here to get to the "Wish List" for the school.

PS - I told Angeles about the wish list and she got pretty excited.