After our hike last night I woke up this morning (bright and early, breakfast was at 6:15!) all sore and achy from yesterday. I was kind of nervous before going to the school today, but I was definitely sure it was going to be an awesome experience and I knew I would be glad – and I so was. Kids are exhausting as Lisa said, exhausting but fun
After the school trip I was sweaty and hot, but definitely lots happier! Working with the 4th year students at the Tumil K’in school was super fulfilling. My group worked with them on math, matrices in particular, while the other group did persuasive essays with the students. I worked one on one with Manuel who went by DJ Maya because he broadcasted for a local radio station! Working with Manuel was so great because even though he confessed that he didn’t really like math, he tried so much harder than most of the students I’ve worked with before. When I was able to explain concepts to him in a visual way that he understood, it was the best feeling in the world, one that was only topped later on when he successfully completed the quiz we created for our students.
Of course everyone I met at the school was super curious about my name and they wanted to know where I was from and how I got my name – it almost makes me feel like I have a special connection to their culture. My name makes for a good conversation starter among people of Mayan descent, they’re always curious about where I come from and how I ended up with my name!
One of the high points of the day was the all-school assembly. Apparently the Tumil K’in School has weekly morning assemblies where they have everyone express their thoughts and be open and honest together. Victor Cal, the Community Liaison of the school started off the assembly with an incredible speech about their recent Maya Festival. He thanked all the students and staff who had helped out with the celebration (which we had attended on Sunday) and then went on to talk about the bigger picture. He had a speech about how climate change is analogous to punishment from Mother Earth because we have been constantly taking from our environment without thinking about the consequences. Our punishment is that the four elements are out of balance, resulting in droughts, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters. I can’t even come close to explaining it, but it was extremely well done. He ended with the “fajina system” or how we must help one another, exchanging energy in order to keep the world in balance. I was incredibly touched and afterwards we all had our chances to share our own feelings about being in Belize and at the school and how thankful we are for this opportunity. I just think that it’s so wonderful that they have a safe place to share their feelings with one another and how open and honest they are about their environments and how much they care about their home and keeping it beautiful and habitable.
After a break, we created a quiz to test the students on the matrices, and they did so well! They were so happy about everything they had learned and my student got 92/100 and I was so so so proud of him for his accomplishment. The absolute best part though was when he told me how much my tutoring had helped him out. The gratitude and openness of the Belizian students was incredible to behold and I’m so glad that we had the opportunity to work with these wonderful students.
Tomorrow I’m actually switching sites and working with the other group and I’m sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye for good to my students, but I think I’ll make them a card that the others can take to them for me as a substitute. I’m excited to teach little kids again and for another new experience in Belize!
Class of 2014
Photos by Erica Robles