Friday, March 14, 2014

Hi Everyone!

This has been such an amazing week! It’s hard to put into words how fortunate I feel to have experienced this culture and the wonderful people. I’ve been working in San Pablo all week and have fallen in love with the children. Being there every day and seeing their smiles make all the hard work leading up to this trip worth it. Yesterday we were fortunate enough to participate in a professional development with the teachers. We shared behavior management strategies (my speciality!) and how to use the many math manipulatives we brought for them. I’ve learned a lot from observing the teachers but the most important thing I’ve seen was how much the teachers genuinely care for each and every child in their class. One thing that stuck with me was something I heard today. In a meeting with the teachers, one teacher said, “San Pablo is the forgotten place.” I don’t agree with that. I know personally I will NEVER forget San Pablo, the teachers, the culture, and the amazing smiles of the children.
See everyone soon!
Emily Harned

Hello friends and family!
Coming into this trip, I had extremely high expectations for what I would take away from this experience. I can honestly say that this week at Red Bank has been more than I ever imagined that it would be! I’ve learned more than I could ever explain from the teachers and students I was able to interact with. The teachers in Red Bank displayed such dedication to their students and to their jobs. It was a great feeling to be greeted by such excitement from the students every day and seeing how attached they became to us in such a short period of time made it heart breaking to leave.

Being immersed in such a different culture made me realize a lot about myself and my pre-conceived ideas about my career path as a teacher. There are so many things that we have at home, that we consider “basic necessities,” that we take for granted each day that they live every day contently without. When we walk into classrooms at home we just assume that our students have come to school with the basic supplies that they need for their school day, but at Red Bank I had to continuously check to make sure that I could supply my students with what they needed for my lessons. It’s extremely humbling.

Throughout the week I taught math lessons to two Standard 1 (grade three) classrooms on addition and subtraction of fractions and completed diagnostic interviews with my students. It was such a great feeling to see how excited the students got when using the manipulatives during the lessons and interviews. Also, being able to assess my students throughout the week allowed me to see how much they were gaining from the lessons I was teaching in their classrooms. I loved being able to see the progress that they were making because of what I had them working with in their classrooms!

I’m so thankful and feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity! This trip has been the epitome of a “once in a lifetime experience.” Being immersed in such a different culture and being away from home made this one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I can honestly say that what I was able to experience at the Red Bank schools this past week also made it the most rewarding experience I’ve had in my life this far!

-          Ashley Vinton

Hello friends and family.  Today was our last day teaching, and I was not expecting it to be so sad. My lessons went well and then I got to play outside with the students and talk to them and the teachers. When it was time to go everyone got sad and started to tear up. Even though we only spent 5 days with these teachers and students, we learned so much and became attached to them. Quite a few of us were thinking about how we could sneak take a certain student home with us. After we got over the culture shock of the trip, we all fell in love with the students and their teachers. There are a lot of ways our cultures are different but because of that we learned so much more about their culture and teaching students that are different than you. By the end of the week we were all sad to go.
Miranda Geyer

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