Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Third Trimester

Sorry I've been bad at updating this recently.  Part of it is that I just don’t have much time, but it’s also that I haven’t found a lot of time for it. I haven’t had a lot of time because, during the week in the start of this new trimester, I have been incredibly busy. My first trimester was a difficult workload, the second trimester was difficult because of all kinds of things that were going on outside of school, and this trimester will be very difficult because of, again, the workload and, also the third trimester is the shortest. The first trimester was about 12 weeks long, the second was 10 (less with the time that I wasn’t here for) and the third is only about 8 weeks. I think it may even be shorter for the seniors, but I don’t know for sure. Things aren’t always communicated very well to us from the administration, which can be pretty frustrating.

So, this trimester I have a Philosophy class and Physics with Segundo Bachillerato, a few English reviews and a workshop with Tercero Ciclo, several classes with Segundo Bachillerato to review Biology, Chemistry, Math, to prepare them for the University next year, the same gym classes, and English with Andrea.

I have been enjoying teaching Philosophy so far because it allows me to talk about some interesting things that aren’t Science, Math or English, which are either full of cognates, numbers or English. This class has added some variety into my teaching and the vocab I’m learning. Physics has been going decently well, although it looks like it will get pretty boring and difficult soon enough when I stop talking about Thermodynamics and stop burning things in lab, and have to start covering things like light, magnetism and electrical currents, for which I don’t really have many lab ideas.

I’m also going to talk to the sisters soon about the idea I had months ago to move the school away from the IHER radio programs and make the school a more self-sustaining private school. Right now we use that radio program and their books, which don’t prepare them at all for anything other than memorization. It’s a shame that many of these students could perform on such a high level, and yet they’re still using this program, which is designed for students in the middle of nowhere who don’t have teachers. Here, however, they have teachers, time set aside for classes, and physical resources the majority of students here probably never have access to. If I could convince the sisters to go along with this, I would try to start with the last two years of High School level (the Bachilleratos) to gradually phase it in, because it’s going to be difficult to find materials like books and more lab materials, and then develop curriculums and instruct the Honduran teachers about how it is going to work. The good thing is that every year there will be new volunteers from Stonehill to carry on the work. The bad part is that I already mentioned something like this in the beginning of the year to Sister Marta, and it seems like some of the nuns in the community are really afraid of the effort and the change that this would require.

I will keep updating when I can about the progress I make on this front. In the meantime, if anyone were able to find ANY kind of lab equipment (thermometers, hot plates, glassware, anything), especially those of you returning to schools this fall which may have things lying around, I would be eternally grateful. Also, old textbooks--Bio, Chem, Physics, Math--even in English, would be extremely useful for future classroom development. The future Extension Volunteers would definitely be able to use resources like these, even if the girls can’t use them. We’re kind of in a void of information here because all we have is what we brought in our memories, some resources we brought or were sent, and the occasional internet connection. Again, if anyone could help us out a little, we would all be extremely grateful.

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