Wow! It has been a crazy/stressful/different/blessed first week of school here at Destino del Reino! I teach English for an hour and 20 minutes first thing in the morning to 1st grade, with a short break for bathrooms, recess, and water, then I teach an hour of English in Prepa (Kindergarten) with a break half way through for their lunch. In the afternoons I assist one of my housemates, Bethany, in her second and third grade English classes, and on Mondays I stay an hour later and assist Colton in ninth grade. (My kids are the cutest!) School here is a lot different than at home. Here are just a few things I've noticed:
1) The bus comes at 7:10 AM to pick us up, picks up all the other teachers, then picks up all the kids. The kids sit six to a seat (three bigger children on the bottom holding three little children in their laps), and we all arrive at school at the same time a few minutes before 8:00.
2) Each day starts with a devotion. On Mondays the elementary grades have a general devotion all together, and Tuesday-Friday the first teacher of the day gives the devotion in their class.
3) Every class starts with prayer. I'm learning this is a great time for me to get refocused before each class, and also for the students.
4) Beginning class size is 30. I have 30 prepa students and 30 first graders. Every grade after that has a few less as some kids drop out or get kicked out, but yes, I am teaching 30 five-year-olds a brand new language.
4) Toilet paper is rationed out by the teachers at the bathroom, because students will try to take it home.
5) There is a dog that wanders freely through the school during the day.
6) At lunch, all the kids get vitamins, and after lunch, they all have to brush their teeth.
Monday was a little nerve-wracking and crazy, because I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but overall the first day wasn't too bad. One of the prepa boys cried from the moment he got on the bus for the whole rest of the day. This is their first experience with school, so it was understandable, but sad. My assistant in that class is their Spanish teacher, Yohana, and she spent most of the time Monday telling the students to sit in their chairs, because they would just get up and start wandering around the room!
Tuesday night all the American teachers met to have our prayer meeting. This is just a time for us to share what's on our heart and pray for each other. Wednesday morning the bus was about 25 minutes late picking everyone up, so the school day started a little later. Thursday we had our teachers meeting after school to discuss things from the first week and share prayer requests for the students. Friday the girls and I just had a night in to recover from the week!
So I had a good first week of school and I feel more ready for the weeks to come! Saturday was a day full of errands and we were able to meet for lunch with other English speakers who teach at other schools in Siguetepeque. That was a great time of fellowship and food! Sunday all the American teachers went with Rhonda to lunch to catch up, talk about our first weeks, and ask any questions, then we all headed to church. The sermon today had something to do with honesty, but that's about all I understood...
Something that has been showing up a lot in my devotions and Bible reading this week is the theme of letting go of things in your life as worship or an offering to God. I'm praying that God will show me what is is He wants me to release to Him, and for His strength to help me with whatever is it. Thanks to all who are praying for me!
"Lord, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps." Jeremiah 10:23