Updates and a wish list!

Scratch what I said before about schools looking like prisons. It’s not just the schools. It’s THE TOWN. Most houses have gates around them, on the windows, and doors, and there is also a huge cement wall along the street with barbed wire across the top. I guess so that you can’t just walk out in the desert? Very strange. And there was an earthquake a few years ago and many houses collapsed during or after, and there are just piles of the rubble (no idea how to spell that word) in some parts of town. And fenced in empty areas of nothing. The stray dogs… are starting to make me sad. In Antofagasta and Santiago they were pretty jolly, but here… half the time I stop to stare at them for a bit because they sleep in piles of dirt or in the middle of the street and I can’t tell whether or not they are alive. They have been so far, don’t worry. Did I mention I saw a dead sea lion though on the beach?

I finally got my class schedule today. I will be teaching 6 high school classes. Different courses, and each has english class 2-3 times a week. I’m glad I have high school, right now, until they start turning against me, and I’m starting to prepare some lesson plans for the first week or two. I’ve met more co-workers at school and they are so friendly, I just feel bad that I am not as proactive in introducing myself, mainly because my english is so poor and also because I am swarmed by kids most of the time and I love talking to them! The education coordinator was SO helpful today though because I understood barely any spanish with her, and she helped me get a copy of my schedule and then put together a list of class materials I will need for my room! Which apparently, as I understand it, my school is going to purchase for me! So happy to hear that… it will make it much more interesting to use materials besides my white board. We were going to Antofagasta to buy things this weekend, but I probably would not have bought as much as we wrote down today. And teachers usually have to pay for photocopies, but I THINK they said I won’t have to. Cross your fingers! Because I really want to be able to give my students copies of things instead of making them handwrite everything. Especially LYRICS, because music apparently is a key way to get them engaged. Oh I am so nervous they will stop liking me once I start enforcing rules… We shall see on Monday!! Tomorrow is my last day observing, and I will start teaching then.

I do feel a little bad though because they kept having me observe basico classes, so a lot of students were hoping I’d work with them too (its a K-12 school)… since I am supposed to do extracurricular activities in addition to teaching, I am going to try to do 1 or 1 1/2 hours with basico kids, and another time period with the high schoolers if they are interested in doing extra english club type stuff. It was adorable today though, I was trying to explain it in my broken spanish that I would work with whoever wants to practice english, but they thought (which is what I probably said) I asked “who wants to practice english?” and the little group of kids all raised their hands!! Then were asking where and when and what they need to bring… oh they are so great. Plus I think it’ll be easier to have a more relaxed format with them, because controlling them IN class would be so hard.

Other fun stories from school:

  • Clever student asked me “que significa I love you?” and I translated and said Te amo… and he gets all smug because I just told him I loved him. haha. Divertido… funny.
  • The kids seriously flock around me. I don’t even like approaching anyone, I just find a nice empty area and wait for them to come. I still like it, and I hope I won’t get sick of it because I think it’s so good for them to attempt to use the little english they know. And I like practicing my spanish with them too!
  • I was invited to a party with one of my coworkers! I think another teacher… Well I don’t really know what kind of party. She said it was a christian party haha. It was very confusing though because the way she said christian kind of sounded like Krshna (a hindu diety), and then was telling me like Christmas and I thought there might be a Christmas party happening but I had no idea WHY… eventually I think she was just saying she is christian so it is a good kind of party with other good christians. Unfortunately I couldn’t go because I had to tutor tonight!

Which brings me to more news – I got a part-time tutoring job! A friend of my host mom came over yesterday and said there was a marine she works with that knows english and wants to practice and converse before he leaves for Panama in September. So I’m going to work with him for the next month and just talk! Tonight was the first night of an actual session and it was great. He is very good at english, only some grammar and pronunciation mistakes. And his family has lived many different places in Chile, mostly in the south, so I want to find out lots of information for when I travel! There are others apparently interested in practicing english, so maybe Erica and Amber will be able to do something similar too. I’m making 3,000 pesos per hour, and working with him 3 times a week. So 12,000 pesos a week… which is about $24 or $25 I think. Not bad for conversing!

This is very long already, but here is my wish list for mail packages… I posted my address on the left side margin of my blog for anyone who is interested, and my only request is that whatever you send either be things I can eat, use up, give to my classes, or leave for my host family, because I want more “authentic” english materials for class and prizes, better gifts for my family, and I can’t receive anything I have to bring back… because I don’t have room! haha. Some ideas…

  • Magazines – especially ones like People, OK, etc. with celebrities and sports
  • Menus (especially the kinds from restaurants with HUGE menus like Cheesecake factory – please steal one if you can! haha)
  • Clothing catalogs
  • Advertisements, flyers
  • Comics, newspapers
  • Travel brochures, postcards
  • CANDY!!! Delicious american candy in bulk that I can give to my classes for good behavior haha. And myself.

Last thing now, milk is not common. I have no idea why. And when they have milk, it’s usually a powdered milk form and sweeter than what I’m used to. Tonight I went to the supermarket and found chocolate milk that tastes about the same as what I remember, so that was very exciting!


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