Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Fourth

It is sunny and hot once again here in Guarambare. It rained most of last week which pushed back the start of school from the Wednesday before last to Monday. I observed the 2nd grade class that day at a very small, 4 room shool a little north of town. My teacher seemed competent and engaged, the class was small and they were well behaved, which was quite different from the experiences reported by most of the other trainees who observed a class.

We´re learning about classroom manegment skills here, which is something that is totally neglected in teacher training. As we learn new skills there is always the balance of figuring out what it is that we are more knowledgable about, what it is that is lost in translation, and what it is that we really know little about and must learn from the community. Clearly, with a college education, and my Peace Corps training I am privledged to have been exposed to many ideas and methods that my Paraguayan partners have not. At the same time it is obviously futile for me, young and inexperienced as a teacher, to come into a community or school and tell them what to do, both because I lack thier trust and respect and because I don´t know what the needs and strengths of the school or community. Meanwhile, I have to figure out what knowledge is genuinely new and what is already known by a diferent name (many things which seem like common sense and that Americans wouldn´t think twice about are unheard of here. For instance a popular and very helpful training activity with teachers is to teach them the sounds of individual letters, which they do not know because they learned all thier phonetics in chunks: mi, ma, me, mo, mu (mí mamá me amo mucho)).

Still have not tried Avacado with sugar. Mango and guayaba season is just about over, but orange season is about to begin!

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