Sunday, November 27, 2011

Return to Tegucigalpa - August 2011

Ahhh! It is the Saturday morning after the first full week of school and I have brewed myself a pot of Dunkin’Donuts coffee. I found the bag of coffee at La Colonia grocery store. Money was no object. So I happily paid the almost $15.00 to have the familiar treat at hand. The first days back to Tegucigalpa were filled with unpacking both suitcases and my closet and bedroom spaces as well as unpacking the art room. I still haven’t located key items…like “where did I put the water color paint brushes?”

I am teaching sixth grade through twelfth grade (AP) art this year. I missed working with the middle school students last year. I am really enjoying getting reacquainted with the returning students and with the students who were new to the school last year as well as this year’s new comers. There is always a percentage of student turnover in these international schools. We have a solid core of “local” students and then that group of students whose parents work in Foreign Service offices, embassies and NGO’s. Then of course we have an expected turnover rate in teaching staff as well. This year we only had three new teachers, an unusually low number. Everyone learns to get acquainted quickly knowing there is a time limit on our opportunities to develop friendships.

My first day on campus I surveyed the work that had been done over the summer. Maintenance and office staff had been busy. There was a fresh coat of paint in the administrative offices, many classrooms and the art room. The grassy square between the Spanish classrooms and the cafeteria that is used for recess and lunchtime games (especially soccer) had been fertilized and reseeded and now it was a lush green .

The director had left instructions for certain areas on campus to be landscaped. She simply said, “I want this area planted”. She did not specify planted with what. Knowing that she didn’t want to spend much, the maintenance staff was delighted to find the abandoned small cups of plants started from seed by the second grade as a part of their science project last spring. They planted them everywhere that a plant was needed. When D. returned she was surprised to see green beans growing everywhere! Evidently the summer staff had been harvesting and enjoying them all summer.

We had a full five days of morning teacher training/meetings and afternoon planning and room preparing, more time than I have ever been given to prepare for start of school. The Saturday before the Wednesday first student day we went flower shopping. So I had three large displays of color in the art room plenty of subjects for first drawing exercises.

The first day of school the seniors arrived on a fire truck with siren and horns blaring. It is a tradition here for the senior class to make a grand entrance on the first day of their last year. My two returning AP students jumped down from the truck and rushed for greeting hugs and smiles so big I don’t know how they could fit on their faces. They had done the “grand tour” together this summer and I am sure they have tales to tell. What a brave mom to have taken them …well brave or foolish, maybe both. Any way they promised a power point slide show to share with everyone.

So now we have settled into the school routine. First projects have been initiated and we are catching our stride. The time will go quickly and the calendar is full of special events long weekends and holidays. The AP art students are taking a field trip to Larach, a large “everything” store that has a large hardware and building supply section as well as house wares and even art supplies. We are going to purchase the supplies needed to construct our own easels, picture frames, and portfolios and to survey the materials that are available for future projects. We only have an hour to do all of this so we better be quick.

Time to refill the coffee cup and enjoy the view from the balcony.

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