Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Teaching Day 3

By Heather Adkins

After spending my first two days at San Pablo school, I had the pleasure of traveling to Red Bank today where I spent most of my time last year.  For those who don’t know, I had the privilege of attending this experience last year as a student teacher.  The memories and lessons I gained just a year ago will impact my teaching for the rest of my career.  Traveling this year as student leader, it is hard to believe that I am gaining even more knowledge from this life-changing experience. The second I entered the airport (minus the horrible feeling of arriving late to the airport, worried I would miss the flight and quite possibly the trip of a lifetime) I had a smile from ear to ear. My first two days of teaching were spent working with the students at San Pablo, and I fell in love all over again.   Watching these children interact with each other and our teachers is a beauty beyond words.  I so excited that I will be spending the rest of my time in San Pablo
spreading my love of education and life to these wonderful children.  As I reflect on my visit today, I can’t help but think that Red Bank has a special place in my heart as well.  Visiting this village for the first time last year, I loved everything about it--the environment, the people, the school, and especially the children.  These children are some of the happiest I ever met.  There is something amazing about sitting in 100 degree weather, with very high humidity, feeling like you’re about to pass out, watching the children run fast as their legs can carry them—with no regard for the heat--wearing some the largest smiles you will ever see. I was also able to meet with some of the children I taught last year.  To my surprise, they remembered me and welcomed me with huge smiles. I took the time to talk with these children, and even walked with some of them to their homes.  Without hesitation, they grabbed my hand and we headed through the village, which was an emotional experience for me.  I am so thankful I was able to reflect on my time in the village that taught me so much.  The village that taught me the importance of appreciating everything you have, and to not focus on the material things. The village that taught me life is such a fragile and beautiful thing that should be cherished.  But most importantly, I was able to sit back and appreciate the village that taught me no matter the situation you’re in, the best way to spend it is with a smile ear to ear.

Photos from Day 2

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Red Bank Reflection - Day 2

Today was our second day at Red Bank.  We had a great day at school today!  We created a pictograph with our students about their favorite fruits to learn more about them.  Our students were able to successfully analyze the data and perform critical thinking.  It was a successful lesson!  Our teachers enjoyed our lessons so much that they asked us for our lesson plans and materials.  We spent part of the day playing games outside with our students and getting to know them better.  We even got the privilege to walk a student into his village to see his home and meet his family.  This was such an eye opening experience, and we have learned to be more grateful for the things that we have.  It was a very rewarding day!  To top it off, we able to get a “50 cent” tour of Independence and the beach.
-Chelsey Yates and Kelsey Kline  


Second Day at San Pablo...Student Perspectives

During our second day at San Pablo, students taught lessons that included reading, writing, how to tell time, and what ones, tens, hundreds mean. The children are just the same as those in our schools at home, squirmy, fidgety, inquisitive, shy, eager, and funny. Here are quotes from some of our students about their take-away for the day:

"Building relationships and showing students you genuinely care about them is the number one teaching standard. My favorite time is breaks because I get to interact with all the children and play frisbee, jump rope, and just talk."
Cristen Arvin

"I've realized that children are the same all over the world. All children like to sing, play, learn, and have fun. For these children, school is the place they are able to do these things."
Lauren Smith

"My teacher is very dedicated to his students' education, but resources are limited. Only a few students have a language arts or science books. They primarily use books that were donated by other groups and implement strategies that teachers from the US have shared with him. He is extremely appreciative of the help we are giving his class, and I am learning so much from him and the students as well."
Rachel Williams

"My teacher, Mr. Acal, is also the principal at San Pablo. His goal is that students understand that education is the key to a brighter future. For a lot of students, it is hard to picture living any differently than the way they've grown up with. To be able to encourage them in their education and tell them about our world is, in my opinion, the most valuable thing."
Kayli Brooks

Monday, April 28, 2014

San Pablo - First Day

Our first teaching day in San Pablo was a success.  Enjoy some of the photos below, and one of the student's reflection of the day.

Today was our first day at our schools. I got into the van headed to San Pablo thinking I was not exactly prepared and didn’t know what to expect.  It turns out I was right. I wasn’t able to fully grasp the simplicity of concrete floors, rickety desks, and the open windows providing a slight breeze in the 95-degree, 65% humidity weather. I wasn’t able to fully grasp the preciousness of the small sweet smiles and how often I would hear, “Miss! Miss!” calling to me from across the room.

San Pablo is a thatch-roofed village nestled in the mountains, 9 miles down a dirt road lined with banana farms. There are five classrooms for grades 1stthrough 8th. The teachers wade through a waist-high river every day from the nearby village of Red Bank. The students are free-spirited but happy to be in school. My hope this week is to let the students know they’re loved, to help them to understand the mathematical concepts that they’re copying into their notebooks, to provide encouragement to the teachers, and to learn more about this beautiful country.

-Kayli Brooks

First Day of School...

Today was our students' first day in the schools. Many were nervous but everyone was really excited about meeting the teachers and students. Some had to change their lesson plans to meet the needs of the class they were assigned to teach but quickly found a way to make it work.
The heat was very oppressive today and even the locals said it was hot--so that means 'oppressive' is an understatement.
Photos are from Red Bank School--enjoy!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Settling in...

We are settled in to our home for the next several days and students are preparing for their Monday morning lessons. They are excited and a little nervous but Dr. Karp and Dr. Pentecost have reassured them that it will go really well. Our students' enthusiasm and desire to do their very best for the teachers and students at Red Bank, San Pablo, and Georgetown makes us all very proud to be a part of this program.

Xunantunich - Mayan Ruins Cultural Excursion

The ITE 2014 team spent the morning learning more about the culture and history of Belize and the Mayan people.  The students describe the site as beautiful, peaceful and moving.  Thinking about the people who built the giant temple and lived there caused all of us to consider a life much different than our own. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Visiting the Belizean Animals on Their On Turf

After lunch at Cheer's, we were ready to take on the Belize zoo.   The zoo features the animals of Belize in a natural habitat.  There is also a lot of hands on experiences at the zoo such as holding a boa constrictor and up close moments with a jaguar.  It was like no other zoo experience that our students had experienced. 

We Have Arrived

We have arrived safely in Belize along with all of our luggage.  Lunch at Cheers and then off to the Belize Zoo.  Uneventful flights and travel so far.   Everyone is doing well and eager to start exploring!

Monday, April 21, 2014

ITE April 2014 Team Members

After hours of preparation, several class meetings, collecting a mountain of mathematics supplies, and packing them all up to take with us; our team of faculty, staff and students are finally packed and ready for the ITE 2014.  We hope that you will enjoy following our blog.  Faculty, staff and students will post reflections each day as we travel, teach, and learn.

The April team members are:
Cristen Arvin
Keisha Benson
Kaylinn Brooks
Tessa Burke
Anna Doll
Melani Earnheart
Ashley Gabhart
Lauren Heckman
Louis Jackson
Shehan Jordan
Kelsey Kline
Tyler McCauley
Katelynn Otte
Amy Riordan
Samantha Schmidt
Lauren Smith
Morgan Tutt
Emily Walls
Rachel Williams
Chelsey Yates

Dr. Karen Karp
Dr. Margaret Pentecost
Dorothy Vittitow
Heather Adkins