Working in a school is never boring. And things don’t normally go as planned. All that is to be expected. In this school I often feel like I have no idea what will happen any given day. This is not so much because of a language barrier, but because many times no one really knows what’s going on. The unexpected things are not always bad- often they are unscheduled assemblies or mimes at recess.
Today we had an Autumn Festival. It was a whole-school event planned by the Junior class. We knew about the event, but never really received any details so I had no idea what to expect. (I don’t think this is something that happens every year either.) Yesterday the kids got a note saying that they needed to bring $10.000 pesos to get into the Festival. When I asked about collecting the money and what would happen to students who didn’t bring money, the response was, “That’s a good question!” I asked again this morning and was told that I don’t collect the money- the students would just pay to get in.
I was still unclear about this whole thing….
Me: “And the kids who don’t have money?”
Secretary: “Well, they just don’t get in.”
Me: “Yeah, but do they go somewhere?”
Secretary: “No, they don’t go into the rooms.”
Me: “So, they just wander around?”
Secretary: “Yes” (laughs a little)
Okay… At this point I’m imagining students just wandering around the school doing whatever for 3 hours. An hour later I was told that I did need to collect the money and that someone would be around to collect the money and distribute bracelets. Ah-ha! They use bracelets to get into the haunted house and stuff. Some pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall into place! Miraculously, every student in my class brought the money. Then I was told that I had supervision duty during the second shift from 12:30-2:00 by the food carts. So, when it was time for the students to go to the Autumn Festival, I stayed in my room while they all went…. somewhere…. it was a good thing they apparently knew, because I wouldn’t have known what to tell them.
Once I went to the Festival, I saw the central location was in the coliseum. There was food, booths and a stage. Turns out if you didn’t have a bracelet you could still be a part of the festival- you just wouldn’t be able to do the activities. It was surprisingly relaxed! I sat back and watched some students dance to Michael Jackson songs and then listened as students and teachers got out their guitars and sang. One of the extra-curricular activities is Rock Band. So they rocked some Oasis, G&R and Metallica. All in all it was not a bad way to spend the afternoon!
Here are some of the other strange and wonderful things from school this month....
One Friday we had an afternoon of intramural futbol. I was under the impression that some of my students would be playing, but it turns out it was a game of teachers vs. high school students. The big draw of the afternoon was visitors from Barranquilla’s futbol team Junior. The first visitor was their mascot- a shark. Because no Colombian gathering is complete without dancing- you guessed it, the shark danced! There was also a surprise visit from one of Junior’s best players Teofilo Gutierrez. It was like a movie star came to the school.
Dia de los Angelitos
A few days ago the Pre-schoolers came “trick-or-treating” at our school. I guess this is a Colombian tradition. Kids get dressed up as angels and ask for candy saying:
Or another variation is:
Angeles somos, del cielo venimos, pidiendo limosnas para nosotros mismos.
The school has a club called AISMUN, and it is a model United Nations. One of the things they have been learning about are the Millennium Development Goals written by the United Nations. We had an assembly where the club shared information about the goals and also lead the school to STAND UP and TAKE ACTION! Events like this are organized around the world to Stand Up against poverty and tell governments that they should be working towards achieving the Millennium Goals.