Friday, November 12, 2010

Ms. Stephanie, Elementary Teacher

To be an elementary teacher is an unique profession. Do you remember the days when you were once an elementary student? Well I do. There was a distinct smell in the air. One of snot, spilled milk, dirt, and freshly sharpened pencils.

Now, as a teacher these smells still evoke strong emotions, but perhaps of a different kind. It still reminds me that I have work to do. It still makes me feel young. But most importantly it reminds me that I am in charge of 20 little ones; academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.

Sometimes I have to stop and smile. I can honestly say that I have such a great group of kids. Although sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out, I can appreciate each one of them for what they teach me.

I used to think that elementary teachers taught elementary because they were not smart enough to teach something more ´´difficult´´. Boy, was I wrong. Being an elementary teacher is quite challenging. There is so much to think about, prepare for, and check.

To keep my sanity, however, I remember to still participate in my favorite hobbies; going to the gym, learning new languages, writing, and playing the guitar. These help me to be ready for the next time one of my kids has a scraped knee, has had their pencil stolen, or doesn´t understand what to do.

Yes, the smell of snot, spilled milk, dirt, and freshly sharpened pencils reminds me that I am Ms. Stephanie, third grade teacher to twenty wonderfully unique boys and girls.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Hay Otro Nombre

Here is a song that I prepared and sang for my Spanish class last Thursday after school. Kari Jobe is one of my favorite artists. I love how God is the same in any language. No sweeter name than Jesus!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parras, not Paris

Our rental car.
One of the greatest things about working at an American International school in a foreign country is that you celebrate most U.S. holidays as well of the local country’s holidays. Basically you have a lot of days off. No complaints here!

Our latest holiday was “Dia de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead). We were able to enjoy a joyous four day weekend. Some teachers chose to take an overnight bus to the beach, I did not. Instead my friend Megan and I decided to rent a car and take a day trip to a nearby city called Parras.

This city is pronounced like Paris except you must roll the “r”. The difference to a foreign ear, such as my own, is quite minute. I made the mistake of confusing the two cities one day when one of my third grade students said to me, “Miss I am going to Paris this weekend.”

I responded, “Oh really?”

He explained, “We are leaving Friday and coming back Sunday.”

With a look of confusion I nodded my head and smiled while thinking that this poor child must have been lying. After school I ran into the boy’s father and told him what his son had told me. He laughed and explained that they were not going to Paris, but instead Parras. It all made so much more sense to me.

I was quite nervous about renting a car and driving a car in Mexico, but in the end it all worked out quite nicely. The drive was only about 2 hours each way. While in Parras we met up with four other teachers who were spending the weekend there. Together we enjoyed a hike to a church on a hill, a visit to the aqueducts, a natural spring water pool, a wax museum, and a tour of the oldest winery in North America.
Megan and I after our hike up to the church on the hill.

We got back into town around dinner time, called up some friends, and asked where they wanted to go since we had a car. It was a crazy night for the four of us girls. We chose to take a trip to Carl’s Jr. and HEB.

Rainbows, how I love you!
Yummy... gorditas!
The next morning before dropping the car off I took a detour to Starbucks. I was even able to go through the drive-thru! It was very difficult to turn the car back in. I truly miss having a car and have thought several times about having one here. Then I remind myself that it is too dangerous to have a car here especially as a foreigner, a car is not a necessity here, and I don’t want to have the cost of having a car here.

All in all a great relaxing weekend. Perhaps we’ll have to rent a car again sometime!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Me and Mexico

It has been way too long since I have updated my blog. First, I was restricted from updating due to a censored China, then I was preoccupied with completing my travelogues, now I have no excuse. Actually, I will claim that my excuse is my new job assignment. I am now a third grade teacher for an International school in north central Mexico. This is my first "real" teaching job. I am three months in and am loving it. I have been, however, quite busy with grading, lesson planning, and more grading.

Long story short... I will try to write more and keep my blog updated. While you are waiting for me to post a blog, check out my travelogue from Honduras at the bottom of this page.