Nerding Out a Bit

29 July 2015

Well, I think I might be posting this at the same time as the previous one, but I already have a lot to write! Actually, this one will most likely be shorter than my other posts, but I had a great day and wanted to do some reflection while it’s fresh in my mind.

Today was the third day of teacher orientation, and I really think the school planned it perfectly. Yesterday and the day before were filled with information and were overwhelming (which is to be expected, of course), and today was energizing. We started off by arriving at the school and almost immediately departing for our principal’s home in the mountains. We ended up getting a bit lost (this seems common here), but I didn’t mind because we had an amazing view!

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Once we arrived, we got settled on the back patio (well, I don’t actually know if it technically was a porch or what ticos would call it, but it felt like a patio to me). Sra P. sat with us and told us the history of my new school. We learned about its founding fathers, some ups and downs the school has had, and the sort of rebirth of the school with the new campus that was built in 2007 or so. Through the story, I was able to get a sense of the values of the school and what they’re all about. I was really happy to learn that the school’s current priorities are so in line with the things I love to do. They have established clear expectations that we use technology regularly (that’s an easy one for me), include project-based learning (which was already a personal goal of mine anyway), and focus on the IB learner profile and 21st century skills.

Ok, I just stopped writing for a little while and was talking to my neighbor, and when I came back and read my last paragraph, I realized I had gone full nerd, so I’ll back off from the edulingo for now. The moral of the story is that I am excited that the expectations of the school are in line with what I love to do!

After story time, we took a break and had some coffee and snacks (cheese, fruit, and some other delicious items) and then moved into a few activities. The first one was to get us thinking about our goals for the first semester and how we are going to introduce ourselves to parents and students. I really liked the activity we did. We used our iPads and an app called Showme (we were allowed to use any app, but I used Showme because that’s what she suggested) to communicate our 30/60/90 goals. The idea is that you set goals for 30 days into the semester, 60 days, and 90 days (which works out well because 90 days is the end of the first semester). Our principal asked us to find an image to use as a basis for our introduction. I chose a picture of the Spring Lake boardwalk and then used running as a metaphor since that’s where I love to run!

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I chose 5k, 10k, and 13.1 as my 30/60/90 goals because I felt like it fit pretty well. A 5k is the first race you do when you first start running. It’s a daunting yet attainable goal. So for my first 30 days at my new school, I want to ease into things in a manageable way. That means getting to know the kids, helping them ease into the IB Lang & Lit curriculum (especially the juniors), and making sure we are all on the same page with the course. Once we conquer a 5k, we can move on to the 10k, which uses our 5k training as a foundation. It’s a pretty scary goal if we hadn’t already worked up to a shorter race, but now it doesn’t seem so bad. This is when the kids will really start digging into the IB works, the assessments, and the skills that I want them to develop. It’ll still be hard for them, but they will get there. Then (this is probably predictable by now, huh?) they will go for a half marathon and really get into a groove. Soon they’ll realize that they can do more than they thought they’d be able to do, and they’ll finally reach a point where it’s almost automatic to do what they need to do to succeed! Hmmm as I was writing this I started thinking about ways to keep the metaphor going; I should totally give them medals at the end of the semester! Haha.

Ok, that got super rambly and ridiculous; sorry about that! After our PD activities, we had a delicious lunch (some kind of amazing chicken pot pie) and headed back to school. I had some time to work in my classroom, which was good. As it turns out, my room got switched, and I no longer have the view I posted the other day. At first I was disappointed but then figured it’s probably for the best. Now I won’t be distracted by the sunshine, mountains, and trees!

I ended up getting home around 4 and went to a local soda (Soda Shalom) for dinner. A soda is a local restaurant that serves typical Costa Rican food. I read about them in all my travel guides before I came, so I was excited to start eating at them. The classic dish to get is called a casado, which means marriage. I think it’s called that because it’s a perfectly balanced dish of lots of yummy goodness. But what’s even better is that casados are just as cheap as they are delicious! I got this dish for about 2800 colones, which is less than $6.00. I have been trying to cook more this week (to save money and avoid eating too much restaurant food), but tonight I thought it would be nice to spend some time out.

Now I’m sitting in my apartment after getting my nails done. There is a woman at work whose sister does color gels (although pretty much else in the world they just call them shellacs), and she came over and did them for me and my friends. It was fun hanging out talking and laughing. I probably should have been doing schoolwork, but I suppose there’s always tomorrow! Actually, I am going to read before bed, so I will end this here. It was a very good day. ¡Ha luego!

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