Monday, December 19, 2011

so full of Christmas spirit

December 19, 2011
You know when you eat too much and than you just feel like your going to be sick, but not really be sick? Where you are mostly percent sure you just feel sick and aren’t actually going to be sick, but that is that little percent that keeps you on edge? Well that is me. Still. I’ve basically been nauseous since Thursday night. I’m not sure what is up, but this is the wrong time of year to feel to the brink full.
After all, it is Christmas party time.
Just like last year we had a Christmas program. And it was just like last year. Kindergarten said their poem. First grade danced to ‘All I want for Christmas is You’. Second to ‘Jingle Bell Rock’. Each grade did the same things. It is just as cute to see new kids doing it, so I’m not complaining.
This year when it came time to have class parties my principal ushered me into the conference hall and told me to wait at a table with nine chairs. Not sure what was up, I listened and sat. Than she came back and some other staff, and one by one all these teachers brought us plates of food from their class parties. There was amazing lechon. Delicious adobo. Fried chicken. Lots and lots of rice. Boiled bananas. Puto. Pansit. So much food and they just stand there watching. So I spent the afternoon convincing my stomach I wasn’t actually going to be sick, it was just a feeling.
Than on to my classroom where there was another plate of food waiting for me. Tonight on to a party where there was more food.
Too much food, too little stomach.

32-point turns in a bus

December 17, 2011
I’ve spent the day in bed listening to Elvis lament about snow, wishing the rain was loud enough to drown out the day care Christmas party that has been listening to ‘Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ for the past 4 hours, wanting some Ginger Ale and saltines for my stomach. Quite a contrast to yesterday, except for my stomach not being happy.
Friday I went on a field trip with my teachers. Coming into it I knew nothing, other than departure was 6:00am. So, I rolled out of bed at 6:00, got ready, and walked to school where I saw all my teachers wearing yellow (no one told me, I was in gray), bundled up in coats to get on the three charter buses (no one told me, no protection from the AirCon). There I sat on the bus and waited about an hour to leave. The bus stopped about two hours in and a half dozen teachers got off and were sick on the side of the road (I’d been feeling kind of sick since I went to bed, but no incident). Than we drove on and stopped, this time to turn around. Three giant busses turning around on a narrow road no wider than most peoples drive ways.
We’d been invited to visit a school that was really nice. It had a bunch of stuff my teachers wanted but probably won’t ever get. Than from there we got back on the bus for the beach. All the teachers asked if I had my swimsuit (no one told me, so waray). We drove down the road a bit and turned around again. We set up at a resort to eat lunch (no one told me, so no bag lunch). There was plenty of rice and food to share and it wasn’t soon until teachers were throwing back warm beer, with questionable ice, and warm coke. I declined, claiming something about my stomach and the bus. No one of the teachers went swimming.
After enough food and drink we all piled back in the busses to head back, right as it started to rain and get dark.  We didn’t make any stops this time, but people were still sick and calling for plastic bags through out. Again I maintained, but I didn’t feel good.
We were suppose to go to an integrated party in the plaza but I didn’t feel that good, so I went home with several other teachers and my principal.
Despite the stomach it was a nice break away from site, and I was glad they included me.

They made me pose with some local pupils.

All the school heads for Alangalang

second time around

December 8, 2011
How did it get to be one full week into December already? It is weird to me that from here on out most things I do I’ve probably done before. So my actions and thoughts so far.
I’ve been super busy helping to plan an HIV/Aids training that didn’t happen. At first it was suppose to be last Monday and Tuesday but DepEd didn’t approve it. Then it was suppose to be today, tomorrow, and Saturday, but the caterers bailed yesterday so we are postponing. It’s been a lot of work and I’m very grateful for all the volunteers who’ve helped. I was asked by D’s old counterpart to help, and I couldn’t say no to the sustainability that was going on. We are hoping for January now.
I’m glad I’d had this to focus on coming back from break, because school has been a bit less than school like. Last week was a Pres Conf that they were prepping for like crazy. This week (today actually) was English Month culmination so we prepped for that. I got in some great bonus lessons with my kids, one I posted about already. We also wrote amazing stories and played hilarious charades. These kids are amazing. Also, I got some pen pal letters all the way from New Mexico that all my kids were so stoked for.
Friday we lighted the trees in the Plaza. They will be judged three times and the winning tree gets some sort of major reward, but I don’t know what. It was a nice activity, formal like things tend to be here, but not quite boring. We even got to light those floating lanterns. I’m excited for Christmas in the Philippines again.
Sunday a volunteer in Tacloban and I ran a 5k. Philippines Red Cross was having a Million Volunteer Run. It was a great event and I’m glad I didn’t have to do it alone. There were maybe 500 hundred of us and M and I were the only foreigners that participated.
The English competion today was a great event. The kids really love events like this. They kept saying, “You will picture me?” Meaning I should take their pictures. It was like last year, but with less events.
Tomorrow is the LGU sponsored teacher day. Last year it was food, rewards, and free mugs. I let you know if it is any different this year.
Just like last year December is packed full of activities but not much is getting done. This really bugs the American in me; the Filipino in me (I feel like I can start to say that now) is really embracing it.

Monday, December 05, 2011

out of country teaching experience

Today is very weird. Sometimes you show up to school and no one is there. The SPED teachers are at an intensive training, but my counterpart opted not to go, and not to cancel class.
Thursday is our English month district culmination. We are a bit late to celebrate. November is English month and for the second year in a row (whoa, that is a weird thought) I'm surprised at how little English is taught during English Month. We are having class so she can sit in the canteen and review for Thursday with the students who will be competing.
So, here I sit in the classroom with the rest of the students. There are no students outside. I have only 20 students in the class. No one is sharing desks. I told them to get partners and write a story. They are working hard and not shouting. The only talking is working talk.
If I didn't know any better, and if we weren't working through a brown out, I'd think I was teaching in the States.