First Week of Work

Trip Start Jul 31, 2012
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5
24
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Costa Rica  , San Jose,
Sunday, August 12, 2012

Well I told you the blog posts would slow down once work started! This past week has been crazy, exciting, overwhelming, inspiring and a bucket full of other emotions! Monday marked the start of the year for teachers. We were all joined together to be welcomed and introduced to some of the staff. After that we spent the rest of the week in our specific buildings, either elementary, middle or high school. The week was filled with lots of introductions, meetings, workshops, and a little time spent working in the classroom. It was a rollercoaster of being overwhelmed then thinking I had it all figured out until the next day started and I was again overwhelmed by new ideas being introduced.

Much of our time during the week seemed to be spent hopping from one meeting to the next which because frustrating when I saw just how much work I had to do in my class. It is so tough starting out a new year with a blank slate of a classroom. So many decisions to make on how you want the class to operate, look, what things you want to have established. So slowing during the week I was able to get the room put together by Friday morning. One tough thing here is that we turn in all of our laminating and copying we need done. There is someone within the school that does it. This means that there is at least a 2 day wait time to get things back. Frustrating when you are on a time crunch and so is everyone else. Luckily I got all of my posters and room decorations back on Thursday but that meant lots of work on Thursday night.

During the week I was able to meet with my team of 5th grade teachers with I feel extremely blessed to be working with. We all seem to mesh together so well and we all have extreme enthusiasm and a passion for teaching. This is becoming harder and harder to find in the states. They have all been wonderful resources for me and have been helping me every step of the way. I know that I am going to be able to grow so much professionally with such a supportive team. The whole elementary staff in general is wonderful. I have teachers stopping in my room checking up and seeing how I am doing, asking if they can help with anything and setting up dinners and excursions together. I feel that this school is a great for me! Everyone is there for the students and has that passion for teaching! It makes me so excited for the year!

By Friday I had my class decorated enough to look ready for the first day of school. During the morning all of the new families to the school and some returning families as well had the chance to stop by the classrooms and meet the teachers. I only have one brand new student in class. I had a total of 5 families stop by. They all seemed very nice, both the parents and students. They all seemed to be eager to start the year. I am excited to meet the rest of them tomorrow!

I have only 15 students in my class. This is such a blessing compared to some outrageous numbers that classes in the states have. This will allow me to experiment with different things in the classroom without being overwhelmed by double the students I normally would have.

Well once Friday was over it was time to relax for my last weekend of summer. The director of the school invited us all over to his house following our workday on Friday. It was a nice happy hour get-together with drinks and appetizers! Following that some teachers met at one of the apartments in my complex to have some more drinks and relax after a long week. On Saturday morning my roommate and I headed to the market in Escazu, La Ferria. We were on a mission to get some fresh fruits and veggies for cheap prices! And that we did! It was fun being out with all the locals doing my shopping. I picked up lots of goodies, my favorites would be mangos, avocados, and fresh cilantro. It is so nice being in a country with fresh goodies! After the market we headed back to our apartment to spend some time soaking up some rays by our pool! It was so nice! The weather was perfect, sunny with a little breeze! I did end up getting just a little sunburned, and yes I had my sunscreen on! Next time, reapplication! After getting my fair share of sun I finished up some work that I had brought home and then headed out to an Israeli restaurant with some of the other teachers. Most of them live in the same complex as me so it was nice to get to know them a little better. Sunday became a day of work rather than a day of rest. I went into school to enjoy the peace and quiet and was able to finish up on some of my planning for the first week. I need to be able to turn my lesson plans in by Monday afternoon so I had to make sure I was on top of my game! I was able to finish up and I guess ready or not the students are coming tomorrow! After finishing my work I headed to Walmart, yes we have them here, to get some groceries for the week. After my shopping was done I hopped in a cab to get home. Only the cab got out of the parking lot and around the corner before he pulled over telling me something was wrong with his car. From what I understand he needed more coolant or something. He told me to wait, then after waiting I was getting ready to get out and he told me to wait. We happened to be near a floral shop so he ran and got a watering can full of water and was adding it to his car somewhere. So here I sit in the backseat of a cab, lap full of groceries and tired and not so happy to be sitting on the side of the road with my cab driver watering his car with a green watering can! Please picture this! Anyways, he finally gets it going and we make it to my apartment.

Once home I started to mix up some fresh guacamole from my market purchases! YUMMY so good! Then I start cleaning up, doing the dishes and was even putting away some laundry. I decided I should do some ironing so I didn't have to worry about that during the week only to go into our laundry room and reach for a soaking wet ironing board! Excellent! We had water dripping from our water heater all over our suitcases being stored in there and whatever else and all into a huge puddle under the washer and dryer. So, first action, call the girl who had the apartment last year and see if it has happened before….nope. Second, call our HR person in charge of our housing….no answer. Third, call another HR person…she answered! She tried making some calls, no one answered. She called me back and wanted me to go talk to our security guards and see if there was someone in charge of maintenance at the apartment. This is a little out of the realm of the Spanish I know, so I ran down with my phone and explained we had a problem and I need the guard to talk to my friend! Well after all this we were able to turn off the hot water in the apartment for the night because there was no one that could come fix it on a Sunday. So here we were with no hot water the day before the first day of school! Who needs showers before one of the most important days of the school year!?! Well I was brave and took a cold shower so I could at least feel decent in the morning! So much for a relaxing Sunday evening at home!

In other minor notes from this week:

- I had my first Costa Rican earthquake. No worries it was just a little tremor. Not super excited to be back in a country with earthquakes!

- I am in need of some simple recipes I can attempt to make here. Please feel free to donate ideas!

- Rainy season is upon us. Rainy season consists of sunny, beautiful morning and then about 3:00PM when you want to go home it starts to pour! Not so much fun!

- Pictures of my completed classroom will be coming soon. Forgot to take them this week :)

Well I am signing off for now! Big day tomorrow…first day of school!

Hasta Luego!

-Ashley
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