I´m back to tell (some) about my new job.
So, after much renewed confusion (like you would not believe), I finally got confirmation that I was working at the school (Yet, they still were telling me different schools. aka – wednesday of the first two week training block, they told me one thing, confirmed it friday, and the next tuesday someone asked me why i hadn´t shown up at the other school. Lol).
It all got sorted out. So, I am teaching First Basic (kindergarten) at ISM: International Academy( http://www.ism.edu.ec/). We first had two weeks of ¨planning¨, which was actually two weeks of mostly seminars and a little planning. Most of the seminars were interesting and informative. Problem was: they were all in Spanish. Which is fine, usually, onlynot when they´re talking at the speed of light on a microphone to over a hundred people. Then, it gets very hard to understand.
Also, bureaucracy continued. In ways I don´t want to describe on a public blog when I´m still working (for example, though, received my list of students the friday before classes started, the day before I meet the parents, and at 2pm (I theoretically leave at 2:30).
Also, this school is SUPER religious. I knew it would be religious but OMG. I have never been so afraid to not be caught praying correctly in my life. I think if I get fired for anything, it will be because someone discovers I´m not religious. Which is a problem, because I have to teach bible for a minimum of 15-30 minutes every day. Which is hard, because I simply don´t believe in it. So, religiously I´m feeling a little oppressed. I mean really, to quote – ¨we aren´t telling anyone that they have to be Catholic. Or even Christian, just that they have to have God in their heart. And if they don´t. they can´t really work here.¨I just about broke out into terrified tears. It´s very repressive. Normally, I have no problem not talking about religion (because I don´t), but constantly having prayers and services and devotionals and being forced to teach religion makes me constantly very nervous about doing the wrong thing.
Luckily, the people are awesome. In addition to the foreign teachers, most of the Equatorian teachers I´ve met are absolutely wonderful. They´re so kind and helpful – especially the english teachers teaching first basic with me. I have no kinder training so I´m feeling very over my head, but they´re extremely helpful and nice all the time. I´m learning a lot. And, the students overall have been great so far (we´ve had one week with them of adaptation). A few problems, like my master escape artist who keeps somehow escaping the preschool area to wander the rest of the school in search of his sister, but I´m learning to deal with them. Though, I do feel over my head. Especially with these two weeks of adaptation (we´ve done one, the second one starts tomorrow). It´s just kind of a free for all two weeks to get the kids used to being at school. It´s unstructured, so I´m running out of ideas of what to do with them to keep them entertained (I need to get my hands on a CD player and music, or chaos is going to ensue without singing or dancing). So, any idea of how to entertain 21 five year olds would be most appreciated.
Also, the school is really nice. It is in the middle of No Where in Calderon. Not the best place around it. It is so much in no where, it´s 40 minutes away by bus, and down a dirt road. Most roads in Ecuador are paved. The school is still adding a wing, so there´s dust, but otherwise it´s nice. It has a pool, soccer field, computer labs (theoretically with internet), a high tech admin building, fingerprint scanners for teachers, nice classrooms, and a cafeteria where they make food fresh every day. Seriously, lunch is comida tipica and the best school food i´ve ever tasted. It puts Seaco´s best nights to absolute shame. Of course, they use fresh ingredients and cook it right there, so it´s automatically better. It´s great. Also, my classroom is very nice compared with what I´d been told to expect. I have desks, chairs, supply cabinet, a tv and dvd player (unfortunately, their cords don´t reach the outlet, I´m still working on trying to get an extension cord). I´m just missing the CD player, but hopefully I´ll get that Monday. Granted, when I got the room, it was so dirty, it took me a day and a half just to clean it, and 3 and a half extra long (till 4/5) to decorate it. But cleaned up, it´´s really nice.
So, overall, I´m doing well. Extremely non stop busy and run down, but well. I´m surprised how much I am enjoying working with the youngins. Luckily, bureaucracy has seemed to smooth out (I finally got my schedule…a week into classes – no. joke.) ALso, it´s Ecuador, so teachers are much more relaxed and can be much more affectionate with students. Which really helps with them. Now, if only my facturas would be finished so I can hopefully get paid for the days in August…..
Wish me luck! I´ll have more stories next time.
And fam, please give me another week before calling. I´m wiped. With soooo much to do.