Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quick story

I don't have time for a longer blog post since the internet at the school was not working today. I'm now trying to figure out how to teach a lesson about the history of electricity production in Costa Rica. Thankfully the ICE (the Costa Rican state-owned energy company) has a helpful description of its efforts. I will have to decide how to deal with the irony of it as I remember losing the power in all of Manuel Antonio during the final of the World Cup.

Quick story:  Yesterday, I was unsure of whether to be offended or take it as a compliment when two fifth grade girls came up to me and put a picture from a magazine up next to my face and said, "Mire, la misma cara!" (Look, the same face).  I had no idea what they were talking about as I was reading my email and did not see who it was.

As they turned and walked away, I asked them who was in the magazine picture. One of them turned her head and said, "Es Robert Pattinson!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I realized that I have not actually written about teaching in a while.  I mention it off-handedly like at the end of my previous post, but for the most part that is about all.  There are a couple of reasons for this, but this blog does not need to be me meta-analyzing why I post what I post.

This week marks the start of the second half of the second trimester.  What that means in non-confusing talk is that I am spending this week grading the tests from my 5th and 6th graders.  I am also going to be ramping up my teaching to my 2nd and 3rd graders since the next test in science for them will be in English.  The opposite is true for my 5th and 6th graders, who will be focusing somewhat more on science in Spanish.

I am still feeling like I am in over my head at times.  I do feel like I am a much better teacher now than I was even 3 months ago.  Obviously that is good.  I hope to continue to improve and not level out, since there are definitely many areas in which I could improve my teaching.

The next few months will also be taken up with me attempting to find some direction on what my next step(s) should be.  I will be applying to jobs from here though I am unsure of how I would do a phone interview.  Over skype?  Maybe I'll just time it so any phone interviews would be after I am home in early December.

The one goal I had which I do not feel I will be able to achieve was to figure out whether I want to be a teacher or not while here in Costa Rica.  I was talking to the director of World Teach, the program I am volunteering through, and she commented on how many volunteers come here because they think they might want to be teachers.  The problem with that is teaching here is so different from teaching in the US that it is not comparable.  Just having textbooks would make things so much different for me and for the students.  Not that I know of textbooks aimed at teaching science in English as a foreign language, but it would be nice if such textbooks existed and I had some

In more interesting and exciting news, Season 4 of the Guild has started up again!  

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to Teaching

The reason why I have not updated my blog in 2 weeks is because I spent the last week in Manuel Antonio/ Quepos at the beach.  I did have internet access there, but not enough to devote time to writing a blog post. Manuel Antonio is in the southern part of Costa Rica on the Pacific side.

Manuel Antonio has the beaches and the national park.  I actually stayed in Quepos, which is a town over the hill from Manuel Antonio.  Quepos is a cool little town with an interesting mix of plantation workers taking time off from work, expats, and tourists all mingling.  While not aesthetically the nicest place, it had great little cafes and interesting places to find. 

My time at the beach was a lot of fun.  I did a bunch of generic tourist things like wandering around the national park and lying on the beach.  The weather did not cooperate for the second half of the week so I spent less time on the beach than I had planned.  That was not that big a deal because I was more than happy to stay in and read the books I had bought at the used book store I found in Quepos.

I went white-water rafting for the second time in a month which I enjoyed immensely.  The river was running really high since they had had a lot of rain in the days before I went.  This meant that the guide was actually somewhat unsure of how some of the different parts would run which made parts a little hairier than they might have been otherwise. 

For example, La Boca del Diablo (the Devil's Mouth) ended up being really tame because of how high the water was.  On the flip side, just below la boca del diablo, the guide directed the boat directly into a large hole, unintentionally.  Luckily only the guide was tossed from the boat, but it was still pretty intense.

I also watched the final of the World Cup from a bar in Manuel Antonio.  The bar had one tiny television, but it was the only place I could find where I could sit down to watch the game.  I'm used to watching sports on a tiny television from college, so it was fine.  The entire game was really exciting, with plenty of chances and lots of yellow cards. (Nigel de Jong definitely should've gotten a red card). 

In the 131st minute, seconds before the end of the game, the power went out in all of Manuel Antonio.  The entire town ran outside of wherever they were watching to try to find somewhere else to see the end of the game.  The power came back on a few minutes later with the Spanish players celebrating in the middle of the field, so I didn't miss anything important.

Now I am back to teaching, which is proving tough.  I need to sit down and focus on what I need to be teaching.  Well, there are only a couple of weeks left in July, soon it will be August.  I will be back in the US in December, before too long.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quince Dias!

First day of vacation today in La Fortuna.  The vacation is called Quince Dias, which is how Costa Ricans say two weeks most of the time.  Hence, the vacation is for two weeks.  The first week I will be spending relaxing and hanging out in La Fortuna, while I will be off to Manuel Antonio and the Pacific Ocean for the second week.

This also marks the halfway mark on my time here in Costa Rica.  More specifically, it marks the halfway time of my teaching here, since I'm past halfway if I include orientation.  Still, its crazy to think that I'm halfway done with the school year.  At times it seems like this has been the longest 6 months of my life, but at the same time I know before too long it will be December and I will be back in the US.

I will be excited to be back in the US, though the recent jobs report makes me less than excited about job searching.  I was really hoping the economy would be adding jobs, not simply moving sideways.  Still, there's hope that in 6 months things are looking better. A second dip would be depressing on a number of levels.