Day two was a quick one. To begin, I didn’t sleep well. Something about sleeping somewhere that’s not my bed is weird and frankly a little icky for me. I finally fell asleep and woke up at 2am wide awake! After playing with my iPad some, I finally got back to sleep. We woke up at 7 or so to get ready to meet important individuals at Galen University. I wore a maxi skirt, short sleeved top, and flats. It was very muddy but thankfully Dr. August drove us most of today to teach us how to get to school and back. When we got to Galen University, we got most of our questions answered and learned a lot about the county of Belize. We met the provost and spoke more with Dr. August. After this, we were dropped off at our schools. Charlotte and I are at a United Evergreen Primary School. I am in the equivalent of a third grade classroom with Mr. Garcia. These students learn everything in this small room of 17 students. The day begins with roll and devotion, math, a break, language arts, lunch (11:30-1:00), reading, science, social studies, Spanish, pe, music, art, penmanship. Students have a full schedule each week. Unfortunately I’m not sure how much teaching I will see take place. This week there are many cultural presentations from each grade level. Next week will be a holiday and a review week and the following week will be an exam week. This makes seeing teaching new material tough but we will get to see tests administered. Mr. Garcia and I spoke and I am already realizing so many differences in the teaching systems other than the physical. On the physical front, students have nothing. They are in small school houses, ride bikes home for lunch, have no books, little supplies, and small desks in the classrooms. The other aspects are in Belize, they must have certain things hung up with in the classroom such as national symbols. The teachers are not given much of a guide as to what to teach and when to teach it. (A curriculum map). Teachers are given a very broad guide for the entire year. Teachers do not collaborate together and dread weekends as they are spent planning. There is not technology within the classroom so many lessons are taught lecture style. There is so much more I learned on my first day but I must move on.
The children are so welcoming and kind. They say “good morning” and “good afternoon” even if they don’t know you. They are always smiling even though it rained a good portion of today. During their breaks at the beginning and end of the days they buy candy bubble gum or flavored frozen ice from the snack lady. They ask about where I come from and give me suggestions about what to do while in Belize. One child even taught me a bit of creole today (though I’m not sure what he taught me to say…something like dis me heuh…I don’t remember). We went on a field trip today as well to in front of the builders hardware store. There was a garifuna drum and dance presentation by garifuna people. One man who is a famous garifuna drummer in the area who was 90 some years old. Here it is a law (or a strict custom, I’m unsure) that people do not put up Christmas lights, trees, or play Christmas music on the radio until after garifuna settlement day on November 19.
Some things about Belize. The roads are terrible. Potholes galore. They don’t really have traffic laws or abide by ones set in place. (No stop signs). The van we were picked up in had no seatbelts so we went flying whenever we hit a bump.
At our house we have fruit trees surrounding the house. There are raspberries, mulberries, star fruit, lemon, lime, banana, some kind of plum, guava, dragon fruit, something that looks like a grape growing on a tree trunk but is sour. Fruit galore. Not much of it is ripe yet but hopefully we will be going to a type of farmers market tomorrow to get some fruits and veggies! Yum! I believe Valerie is also taking us to a cafe tomorrow to get coffee!! 🙂
That’s about it for tonight. Stay tuned for some more photo uploads and pictures of the school!
Tonight’s photo is of the dinner from tonight. Homemade tortillas (we learned to make them from Valerie) eggs, and beans with special belize hot sauce! Delicious!