I am sitting in a chair inside my apartment soaking wet from walking home in the monsoon that has apparently rolled through Cofradia. How fitting for hump day.
I’m not sure if its the fact that I have woken up at 5am and gone to bed around 11pm the last two days or that teaching 4-yr olds for the first time ever feels like entering into a warzone without ammo, but today was a particularly ROUGH hump day.
Monday was our first day of school and I must say, I have never experienced such a rollercoaster of emotion within the span of 5 hours. I went from being nervous, to excited, to pleasantly surprised at how well my prepa class was going. At one point I even thought, and perhaps naively so, that this wasnt so bad and that I could be the FIRST person to ever escape the first week of teaching without a horror story.
And then 9:30 rolled around.
Who knew that switching from Prepa (kindergarten in the states) to Kinder (preschool) would change my entire attitude that day. Who knew that it would change my entire outlook on teaching this year. Who knew ONE year could make such a difference in the behavior of these kids?!
Here is more or less a recap of what happened that fateful day…
Class began with three hysterical criers and quickly moved to five (these kids should really be pushed later on in life to become singers considering the set of lungs they’ve got on them). One of these kids made herself throw-up from crying so much. One said that “she was going to die.” One stood on top of a table and beat her hand profusely against the window while she SCREAMED inaudible words at the top of her lungs.
And then of course there is “the runner”. The one who got away. The one who got away without Steph and I noticing and was later found wandering the halls for her sister by another teacher. Some may or may not consider that “losing” a child on their first day.
None of these kids speak english nor do they understand english. Sitting is not a concept they understand nor is being quiet when someone asks them to. Needless to say, that 2 hour period was chaos at its finest.
Yesterday wasn’t as bad. The runner almost got a way from me during a trip to the bathroom but I was able to catch up with her despite the fact that I had to scoop up another child and run with her flailing horizontally around my waist. Two of the three criers cried themselves to sleep which also bought us some time.
However the Screamer, named Alexandra, was still at full force and caught the attention of three classrooms, a spanish teacher, and Marni. We also got locked inside our classroom at the end of the day. The kids didnt like this too much, particularly the three criers that consider our classroom a jail of sorts. But all in all there was progress and thats all that matters.
It is this thought that led me to wake up this morning with hope that each day would continue to get better and better. What I realized instead is that my days continue to get longer and longer. I’ve been up since 5:15am and have yet to truly sit down and take some personal time until now. After class is debrief and then lunch and then lesson planning and then off to the market to buy groceries for tonights dinner and then starting to cook the beans for tonights dinner and then more lesson planning and then walking to the house to cook tonights dinner and then cooking tonights dinner and then realizing that dinner is gonna be late by around 40 min. and then cleaning up tonights dinner and then choosing to walk home in torrential downpour because its getting late and you still have more lesson planning to do.
But the good news is it’s Hump Day. So it’s all downhill from here, right?