Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sports and Socks and Snood

August 5th- August 17th:

Update about Sports Club: I am ecstatic that the enthusiasm in the beginning is still present. Sometimes, things seem way more excited when they are brand new and eventually that excitement decreases… not with sports club! The students who come have made a commitment. This is just another element to sports club that has surfaced- that sports club is more than just a fun, healthy Saturday activity. It is a way for my students to challenge themselves, make a commitment, learn how to make independent decisions, enjoy teenage life, learn about healthy living ( I am always adding in random conversations about different ways on how to improve quality of life).

When Joe was here I decided to bring my Frisbee for the first time. We only have two badminton nets so there are always students just watching, taking a rest so I thought might as well have a go and see I they like it! Joe and I started passing the Frisbee and after only a few seconds there were onlookers eager to join in. The Frisbee did not stop moving, when students would get tired, new ones would join. I have not introduced them to the rules of the game yet. We are still simply passing, getting the hang of how to control the Frisbee. Last weekend when I was going to be in Manila, the students asked me if I could leave my Frisbee with them. I did and apparently on Saturday even though it was down pouring they got together and played their version of ultimate Frisbee! We are going to try and include ultimate Frisbee in the upcoming sports festival day. I have printed out a simple copy of the rules of the game, size of the playing field, etc. This undertaking should be an exciting one! The greatest thing is that it was my student’s idea to include ultimate Frisbee in the special sports day.

For all my coffee lovers- I now have a French press! Not technically brewed coffee but the aroma of real coffee is in the air and the taste of real coffee greets my taste buds every morning again. Halleluiah! Huge thanks to Joseph for the second greatest birthday present ever, the first was him actually being here, of course! He brought me two bags of coffee grounds which I am still happily using. I found one small store in the town near me where I can buy coffee grounds for a decent price. A French press is also good because even if I have no electricity I can still wake up to a nice cup of joe.

The good thing about not being able to hop in my car and drive to Target or another store whenever I need something is that small things can create enormous amounts of happiness. For example, when I came here I did not bring a lufa with me. At home, I would get it all soapy every time I took a shower and every few weeks I would walk right into the store and buy a replacement. Here I just use my hands and occasionally a good old wash cloth… which definitely does not get as soapy as a lufa, right? I just got so used to this that I forgot all about taking a shower with a lufa or other type of exfoliating scrubber. Whenever I go to the mainland I stop into a store similar to Walgreens to buy my body lotions, body bar, and various other things that I cannot buy here in Marinduque. Last time I also threw in this exfoliating body washer. The first time I used in I was practically jumping all around with joy in the bathroom. It felt so good to feel so clean. Crazy that something so mundane in my life in America can be so amazing in my life here. Since where talking about things I could also like to talk about socks, hair ties, and pens. In American, I was constantly losing these things, like every single day but here, never. I use a hair tie until it loses all of its elastic powers, I use a pen until it has no ink, and I never lose my socks. Why? That is the question. Socks I can understand because I wash them, hang them, and then put them back in the drawer… the mysterious hands of a wash machine do not exist. But the pen and hair tie thing is just wild.

I had a high-on-life moment this week. I walked into class and my students had posted their work all over the back wall of our classroom. Previously, I had been the one to display work that they should be proud of, help them remember certain things that we have learned, etc. It was more powerful when they did it themselves because it shows that they are proud of what they were able to create. Every time a student walks up and stares at the work taped to the wall is just a rush of reassurance that covering the walls of a classroom with students work is a positive act for more than one reason. I hope that this continues. A collage of everything wonderful on the back wall of my classroom is like a vision come true. Before coming to the Philippines I did a lot of visualizing of what might be. I had a lot of practice teaching only in the form of what my sisters and I would do when we were little so my competence was a bit low in that area however I did know that I wanted my classroom to be home of friendship, learning, and showcasing student work. This situation was also a reminder that my students are always watching me. When I hang work up I always tape the edges so they are not torn on the windy days and I like to arrange them in some sort of pattern. My students did the same. Makes me think about how people will remember more of what you do then what you say. My students may not comprehend everything I say but they can see everything that I do. If I recycle my paper and clean and recycle my plastic, they do. If I smile and act like a clown, chances are they will to. When everything I have just said works together, great things can happen. Great things are happening- visible and invisible.

When I was visiting my best friend Karen, I took a bunch of movies and TV shows from her hard drive. I have quite the collection going. I also got the game Snood. I used to play this when I was young. I was not quite as addicted to it as I was to roller coaster tycoon or Sims but I definitely enjoyed making smiley faces fly around to burst other smiley faces. I am not really good at playing it anymore. I still have to figure out my strategies about bouncing them off walls and arranging them in certain ways to burst more than one at a time but it is an enjoyable way to past time. I actually have not really had a lot of free time on my hands the past year but occasionally I force myself to take a ME day. If you know me well you know how hard it is for me to be lazy the entire day. Lately, when I tell myself I am going to sleep in I sleep until 7am. I think the only time I am really good at doing nothing is when I am hung over. Due to the fact that I do not drink much here this is also a rare occurrence. Anyways, I am happy to have new movies, shows, and games so that when I do find time to rest my mind and my body I have a large mixture of entertainment to choose from.

“After the verb to love… to help is the most beautiful verb in the world.”
Part of the chalkboard in my classroom is used for my daily writings. At the top I write, “Attractive Monday, or Stupendous Tuesday.” Each day I use a new adjective as my way to enhance my student’s adjective collection. Under it I write a quote, tongue twister, riddle, new grammar awareness message, etc. One of my students has also taken up the job to design a new boarder for my space. He is always coming up with something artsy and fun!

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