What have we been doing in the past two weeks? Let me get out my COTE (Calendar of training events, for those who aren’t up on their PCAs [Peace Corps acronyms]). Yeah okay, so two weeks ago, just about, was our Volunteer Visits, where we visited a current volunteer and shadowed them around. Some of the trainees got to shadow volunteers out in Cartagena and Santa Marta, but I can’t really give much of an opinion on that since I got to get to know the lovely and marvelous Barranquilla in more excruciating detail. I don’t really have so much to say about those few days as they were a little disheartening and uninspiring.
Hm. Then we had training and Spanish class as well (speaking of which, I’ve gone up a Spanish class starting for next week’s classes, so I’m pretty excited about that).
And then this past week was field practicum week, which was pretty cool. My group of four lovely ladies were sent out to a school in barrio Boston. And what a school it was, with air conditioners in every classroom, and plenty of other resources for the teachers to use. Apparently the principal is quite the go getter in terms of obtaining resources and making sure the teachers follow certain standards.
The English teacher we worked with was very excited to see us, and extremely accommodating. He’s only been teaching for two years, but seems to have a good rapport with the students, although I found the classes we observed to be a little dry and grammar heavy. However, he was so excited about the different games and methods we used in class that he wants to come to any seminars and classes that the Barranquilla volunteers put on in the coming months. Actually, before he knew that such a thing existed, he wanted to know if he could show up and observe our English classes in his spare time, which would be cool too, but there are going to be legitimate teaching classes, too! So it was awesome to meet a teacher that was super excited about what the Peace Corps can offer, especially since we’ve had a fair few warnings from staff and current volunteers that some co-teachers aren’t really that enthusiastic about the whole Peace Corps/co-teaching/new ideas bit.
I ended up co-teaching 8th and10th graders (including one of the other volunteer’s host brothers, who I totally didn’t recognize when he asked me if I remembered him, even though we have met once, but I couldn’t imagine why I would know a random Colombian eighth grader, so I may have shamed him in front of his peers by giving him a skeptical face.) I also taught a song to first graders by my lonesome, using all my classroom Spanish skills I’ve picked up from Carlos, which ended up being superfun and they didn’t turn into Chocolate Milk Zombies at all! skillz. All in all an excellent practicum!
On another note, what can we look forward to in the next few days and weeks? Well, next week is more of the same, but the week after on Thursday, we get to find out what site we will be going to for the next two years! eek! Then the Monday after we get to meet our counterparts (the main person we’ll work with at our site) and Wednesday the 30th we get to visit our sites for three days! YAYAAYAY!!!
I’m excited. A little.
Hmmm. anecdote: our house is not really hermetically sealed or anything of the kind, so we get some weird stuff coming in. I mean, not even rain leakage from the veritable monsoons that we experience nearly everyday, but critters. I was lying on my stomach working on my computer when I felt something amiss in the fold of my elbow. Upon unfolding my elbow to see what was what, a tiny lizard scuttled out. I may have freaked out a little. But only because it looked pretty delicate, like something I could crush with the might of my elbow. Of course.
Then, a few day later, I saw a random cat peeking in my door. Now, we don’t own a cat, so I went to investigate, but by the time I got out of my room, it had disappeared. Another phantom-cat!
Next on the “to blog” list: my thoughts about walking around Barranquilla, and “Stuck in the Present”