10 Words a Day & Update – 19/09/18

Hello everyone, long time no blog? The last week has been extremely hectic, what with sorting out our ID cards and all the celebrations. Emily and I are currently preparing for tomorrow, when we travel to Talca to spend the rest of the holiday (until Sunday) with two of the English teachers. As I haven’t written last week’s update yet (we were out for most of Sunday), my aim is to write it and post it for Monday, and then get this week’s update out for Wednesday/Thursday. I’m sorry for the lack of updates! I’m not sure what the WiFi situation will be in Talca so my “daily” word lists may be on hold until Monday as well. Below are a compilation of words from the past few days:

  • Chaleco – jumper
  • Manga – sleeve (Emily was looking on the Chilean H&M website for tops)
  • Carrete – party (there have been multiple around where we live)
  • Retirar – to pick up (asking when we can collect our ID cards – in a month’s time, if you’re curious)
  • Pesadilla – nightmare (used to describe what sorting out our ID cards was like – more about that in Monday’s update)
  • Ballena – whale (this is a sort-of insult thrown about in our household)
  • Destrozarse – to shatter (one of the micro doors broke just as the bus stopped which was…interesting to say the least)
  • Recoger a – to pick up
  • Hierbas – herbs (when describing Olbas pastilles to Lindsay)
  • Tener muchas ganas de... – to look forward to (when explaining to Lindsay how much I’m looking to seeing fields again)

That’s all for now, I’m sorry for the late updates but things should return to normal after Talca!!

Lead up to Dieciocho! – 16/09/18

This update is coming two weeks late but here it is! A summary of my third week at the project (tomorrow marks 1 month working at Undurraga!). I remember this week being the hardest as my homesickness hit really hard at the beginning of the week. That being said, I pushed through it with the help of my parents, Emily, and the wonderful friends I’ve made since coming to Chile. Anyway, here’s a summary of my week!

Monday:

Other than Sunday, Monday was the worst day for homesickness this week. After a little tumble on the bus (I got my ankle caught in the turnstile on the bus and fell flat on my face) and crying into Angie’s shoulder before 8am, I was invited to visit another school with the some members of the school orchestra. The children from the other school we played with were all partially sighted, and they (as well as some of the teachers) played a piece based off of rhythms that were created by a native tribe. I helped Filipo (one of the music teachers) conduct the xylophones, and I learned that in Chile they don’t teach music using ‘CDEFGAB’ but instead using ‘do re mi fa so la ti do’. Pretty interesting!

Afterwards, the two groups of children played a piece of music for the other, and we were given a tour of the school by some of the children who had been playing in the orchestra. Considering my homesickness partially stemmed from not having music in my life since I came to Chile, this was definitely an amazing way to spend part of my day. I’m hoping to join the school orchestra too, I just need to find a violin!

Once I got back, I helped Emily (who had braved doing a workshop alone in the morning whilst I was out) with the last two workshops.

Tuesday:

During the day, had our workshops with the 4th grade again. As this week was part of the run-up to dieciocho, some of the music teachers and students were playing in a band during break (I swear music teachers are some of the chillest people around):

Tuesday also marked the 45th anniversary of the coup d’état in Chile, when Pinochet overthrew the government and the 17 year-long dictatorship began. In remembrance of all those who were killed or forcefully ‘disappeared’ by the government, Mónica, Lindsay, Emily and I lit candles on the doorstep.

Wednesday:

I think Wednesday was the most peaceful day of this week, from what I can remember! I finished the decorations for our workshop (at the moment), the room definitely feels more like ours now!

I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far, and I think it really helps in the workshops!

Thursday and Friday (the absolute worst days of this week):

Ah yes, Thursday and Friday. If you’re a future Chile volunteer reading this in years to come, please listen to me. Sort out your ID cards as soon as possible. Since you have to declare you’re in Chile within 30 days of arrival (we had until the 23rd September to do this), Emily and I ended up rushing this week to get it sorted, as the following week no one was working until the 20th, which happened to be the day we were going to Talca (spoiler alert). As such, we woke up at 5am on Thursday morning and trudged to the PDI with Mónica, who so kindly gave up most of her day to come with us and help navigate it.

We got to the PDI at 7:30am, and left at 2:30pm. Four hours of queuing in cold weather (when we got there, the queue stretched around 3 of the 4 sides of the block), and then another 3 queueing in the building itself, packed with people wanting the same thing we did: a piece of paper with a stamp on it that confirmed who we were and when we arrived in Chile. What’s more, Mónica had to wait outside for us after we went in and she wasn’t allowed to come in to help us (I still feel utterly guilty about it).

Because we didn’t get out of the PDI until after 2pm and all government buildings close at 2pm, we then had to go into Santiago again on Friday to go to the Registro Civil (RC) to apply for our ID cards. While this initially seemed like it would be a piece of cake – we got there at around 7:30am and thought we would be on the bus home by 10:30 – Emily forgot a receipt we got when we first went through immigration at the airport. This then resulted in us (alone, as Lindsay had to go to university at 10:30) travelling between the PDI and the RC for the next few hours, until 1:30pm. Another piece of advice for future volunteers: do not throw away the receipt they give you at the airport. It is important, keep it in a safe place.

Nevertheless, we (somehow) managed to get to school in time for the dieciocho meal, as Friday was also the last day of school before our week-long break for dieciocho.

This has been brief, but unfortunately I can’t remember too much of what I did or anything funny that happened (I guess this is also a lesson to post on time and write in my travel diary). Tomorrow I hope to post about out dieciocho week and how we spent it. For now, though,

Ciao!

10 Words a Day – 11/09/18

Hello everyone! Today has definitely been a lot better. Emily and I have been planning what we’re going to be doing next week (we have a week off for Chilean Independence), and today also marks the 45th anniversary of the coup that began Chile’s 17 year-long dictatorship. I’ll speak more about that on Sunday when I post the week’s update, so for now, here are today’s words!

  • Recordar – to remind (we needed to remind Mónica to talk to her boss this morning…we forgot, but she remembered so it’s all good)
  • Pasar – to spend (time) (I wanted to tell Mónica we want to spend the 18th with her, but I forgot the word)
  • Mosca – fly (there are a lot around when it’s warm, which is pretty much everyday at this point)
  • Mosco – mosquito (wow we love Spanish and all the different words to describe different insects 🙂 )
  • Pasto – grass (I miss it dearly, hopefully we’re going to see some fields next week)
  • Rueda, Calesita – merry-go-round (rueda didn’t show up on wordreference but it’s what Lindsay said so ?? Perhaps a Chilean word)
  • Enojado/a – angry / upset (I had to pull this one out yesterday when one class was being hellish)
  • Vela – candle (we were lighting candles tonight for the anniversary of the coup)
  • Cera – wax (Lindsay cut the candles in half so we had more)
  • Tiburón – shark (children keep saying they’re afraid of sharks in our workshop and I wanted to know what it was in Spanish)

That’s it for today! Tomorrow we finalising plans, and planning more for Thursday when we go to get our ID cards (wish us luck, Molly and Hazel spent 6 hours at the PDI).

Ciao!

10 Words a Day – 10/09/18

Hola! Today started off badly, but ended on a good note. Emily and I are having a pretty early night (once turned out to be more like siete y media), and before watching Deadpool 2, here are my 10 words for today (on time for once):

  • Rifa – raffle (this word is actually from Saturday because there was a raffle at the school fair/dance)
  • Satisfecha – satisfied/full (because when I said the literal translation, estoy llena, Max laughed at me)
  • Buen provecho – Bon appétit (we learnt this from Angie)
  • Frambuesa – raspberry (we tried this weird crisps that tasted of raspberries…not my favourite, not going to lie)
  • Estuche – pencil case (Emily taught Esteban the word ‘dustbin’ so he taught us the word for pencil case)
  • Trenza – plait (one girl on the bus today asked if I could do one and I had no idea what she was saying)
  • Cinta para el pelo – hair band (this is what I thought she was asking me for)
  • Garganta– throat (I had to ask Fabian how to say this to tell a child that Emily had a sore throat)
  • Olla – pot (Miguel was asking us to watch something whilst he went out)
  • Hoya – hole (this is what I thought he said, which is why I got confused)

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow!

Ciao!

Workshops and Wall Displays – 09/09/18

Hello everyone! Time for the weekly update I know you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats for (joking, or am I?). This morning has been quite rough, homesickness hit hard when I was speaking to my mum and after lots of tears (and a substantial amount of snot), I’m writing the summary of my week. It’s gone so quickly! Emily and I now have some sort of timetable and work with 3 small groups of children every day, which is a lot of fun. Anyway, here’s the run down of my second week in Quilicura!

Monday:

On Monday, Emily and I started working with the 4th graders, children aged around nine and ten years old. Our workshop takes place during their lessons and we take out around 8 students everyday to practice speaking, since the children are going to be taking the Cambridge Movers test in October.

As the children will be asked a few personal questions during the speaking part of the test, Emily and I have been practicing answering these questions in the workshops. The questions range from ‘ what is your name?’ to ‘what is your favourite day of the week?’. This week, we were working on how to answer ‘what are you afraid of?’.

While we were meant to take part in a workshop with Estefania after school, she had an appointment so it didn’t run, which also meant we got to go home early. Monday was also the first day we took the micro (the bus) back home by ourselves! It was all okay, apart from a few boys from a different high school spotting us and deciding to sit behind us. They didn’t do anything, but it definitely sucks to know that someone is talking about you and you don’t know what they’re saying.

Tuesday and Wednesday (…and Thursday):

These three days have been pretty much the same. On Tuesday we started to make our little room (it’s hard to describe but it’s essentially a separate space within the staff room that has glass windows) a bit more English-orientated. This involves a lot of different wall displays and, while we haven’t quite finished it off yet, may I say the student has become the master? (Sorry mum) Below are some photos from towards the end of this week when we were putting more things up:

(I am aware that the figures are the same in Spanish as they are in English. We haven’t finished the number line yet but the names of the numbers will be written out below)

Things we are also planning to add over the next week:

  • Months of the year
  • Days of the week
  • How to form the verb ‘to be’
  • Flags!
  • A bit about where Emily and I are from in the UK
  • ??? Other things as well

Emily and I were extremely offended (well, only slightly) that ‘Keep Calm and Speak English’ is made up of the American flag, considering we’re from the UK (and so is that saying, now that I think about it). We did have a plan to gradually swap the letters for ones with the Union Jack on them over the course of the year, but since we don’t know how to print or laminate, that plan has been shelved… for now.

On Thursday we only had two classes as the last group were behaving so badly for the substitute teacher (Angie was ill), we were sent back. After school, Estefania and Nicholas both walked us to the bus stop (many people are concerned about us taking the bus alone which is very kind, but can be frustrating at times).

Friday:

In case you haven’t been following my ’10 Words a Day’ blog posts (which have been infrequent, sorry! Normality should return tomorrow), everyone at home has gradually been getting sicker and sicker as the week has gone on – especially Emily. This culminated on Friday when, after feeling generally okay during the morning, she unfortunately felt worse in the afternoon. Consequently, as the day went on I gradually took the lead within our workshops which felt…kind of great. By the end of the week I was definitely feeling more confident within the sessions and I’m looking forward to doing more with them next week!

After school on Friday Emily, Lindsay, Max and I went out with the intention of buying ice cream and flying kites. We achieved one of these goals. Unfortunately, the kite-seller was absent from his usual haunt so instead we just went to a park with our ice creams (I had chocolate, I am my mother’s daughter after all) and chatted about what we wanted to dress up as for Halloween (I think we’re having a party with Max and Lindsay’s friends). Apparently dressing up as a cactus is odd here )they saying it was funny that I dressed up as a tree; cacti have spikes! That’s super scary, right?). Anyway. We had a great time just hanging out for a bit before pooling together our cash (we had about 20,000 pesos) to buy snacks and drinks for our horror film marathon, which turned into a ‘let’s watch half of Saw before playing Irish Snap and listening to a mix of One Direction and High School Musical’ marathon (totally disappointed in ‘Saw’ though, I was expecting more gore and a chainsaw).

Saturday:

Yesterday we had to go back into school for a ‘celebration of Chilean identity’ (it reminded me of wymcol, but it was a lot more fun). Apparently all the schools were doing it, and it consisted of lots of market stalls selling tradition Chilean food (unfortunately I didn’t get to taste any. Of. It.) as well as every class performing a traditional dance. It was really interesting to see all the different dances and outfits. Below are some photos:

After the festival (? I feel like that’s one way to describe it) ended, Angie invited us to go downtown with her and see some museums. We only got a chance to go to one before they all closed (we actually didn’t get to see all of that one, either), but it was definitely one of the most interesting museums I’ve been to. ‘Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos’ commemorates the victims of human rights violations during the dictatorship of Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. Outside the museum a wall of portraits shows everyone who ‘disappeared’ during the dictatorship.

The most interesting part for me was one area of the museum where children’s artwork and letters from the period were on display. It clearly showed that the children knew what was going on during that time, and there were many pictures children had drawn showing police cars and coffins with speech bubbles saying ‘my father doesn’t want to go for a ride with you’ or ‘my greatest wish is that Pinochet leaves la Moneda’ (la Moneda is the equivalent of the White House or the Houses of Parliament).

(The picture in the bottom right corner of the page is titles ‘I want to be free like the birds).

There was also a wall with the photos of people who had been forced to disappear during the dictatorship. We saw one woman sitting in front of all the photos sobbing.

We didn’t get to spend a lot of time there as we were ushered out at closing time, but it is definitely a place I’d like to return to (especially considering all the museums in Santiago are free). Afterwards we all went to the park across the street to see if the National Museum was open (it wasn’t, but I got a nice picture of the outside).

Angela was kind enough to treat us to churros with manjar (caramel? Think of the nestlé tinned stuff you can buy for banoffee pie), and we walked around the park for a bit before leaving to take the metro to see la Moneda (I didn’t get a photo but it’s smaller than you’d think, and the Chilean flag in front of it is bigger than you’d think so. There’s that.)

One thing that’s pretty cool is I saw my first llama at Quinta Normal Park! Here is a photo of it, I hope it had a good evening.

After seeing la Moneda, Emily and I said goodbye to Angie in Bellavista and got the bus back to Quilicura (which took just over an hour, but seemed longer than that as it was pitch black). Emily and I have to get our ID cards next week, so at least we have some idea of how to get back into Santiago central now.

Today has been difficult for many reasons, but Miguel, Mónica and Lindsay have been so kind today, as has Angie, who travelled back out to Quilicura to spend the afternoon with Emily and I. We learnt a new card game (I won, Emily lost), and just had a Day. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit kinder to us all.

That’s it for today, everyone. I hope you all have a good week and I will (or should) be back tomorrow with 10 words.

Ciao!

10 Words a Day – 07/09/18

Hello everyone! It’s currently quite early here (for a Saturday). We had quite a late night watching ‘Saw’ with Lindsay and Max (wouldn’t recommend), so these words are coming to you a bit late! Nevertheless, here they are:

  • Gritar – to scream / to shout
  • Helado – ice cream (we were trying to explain ‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream’ because we went out for ice cream yesterday)
  • Mojar – to wet / to soak (Mónica says I always go to bed with ‘pelo mojado’, wet hair)
  • Peinarse – to brush hair
  • Alargadera – extension lead (we needed it for the TV last night and I now have no idea where it is)
  • Tener pena – to be sad (this is another Chilean phrase that means different things in different places!)
  • Hipo – hiccup (Max had them last night after ice cream)
  • Eructo – burp (it’s very hard to tell if someone needs to burp or vomit)
  • Depilar – to shave (not sure if I put this word on here before but in South America rasurar is used to describe the act of shaving facial hair. The more you know)
  • Sobrio/a – sober
  • Saco de dormir – sleeping bag

That’s it for the 7th, hopefully tonight I’ll be on time with my words!

Ciao!

10 Words a Day – 05/09/18

Buenos Noches! My wellness is slowly leaving me, I have started coughing (anyone who knows me knows that I sound like a dying brachiosaurus so wish Emily and our Chile-fam luck) and I can feel my energy ebbing away. That being said (I’m not being dramatic), here are today’s words:

  • Conocer = to know / to recognise someone (we were in an art class today and the teacher wanted us to get to know the children better during it. They were not well behaved.)
  • Entrada = ticket (our music festival tickets came today!!)
  • Desafío = challenge (said by Emily when we had more children in our workshop than planned)
  • Cinturón = belt (we were going over ‘I am afraid of…’ in our workshop and one boy wanted to know how to say ‘I am afraid of my trousers falling down’)
  • Espada = sword (a boy in the art class asked me what he could draw and I didn’t know how to say ‘a man holding a sword’)
  • Pelota = ball (Emily has a rubber-band ball which we use in the workshops. So far there has been one accident, we have a 7/8 no-accident success rate at the moment)
  • Cintura = waist (Lindsay was talking to us and said this word)
  • Decorar = to decorate (we were telling Lindsay about what we’re doing to our little room to make it more English-y)
  • Cuñado/cuñada = brother-in-law / sister-in-law (we were talking about this during once)
  • Doler = to hurt (the children keep asking if it hurt when I got my nose pierced. I tell them the truth, which is not really, but leave out the part about me fainting outside of Debenhams because that wasn’t cool)

There they are! Hope you have a good Thursday, please wish us all well and I’ll be back tomorrow with 10 more words.

Ciao!

10 Words a Day – 04/09/18

Evening all! Or should I say early morning? We’re transitioning into spring here in Quilicura which means that everyone in the house is starting to get ill, particularly Emily. As we spend the majority of the day together, I fear my days of wellness may be numbered. Nevertheless, I am still fully functioning (so far) and able to share my 10 words for the day:

  • Cometa = kite (apparently it’s a big thing here to go fly kits in September)
  • Millas = miles (Emily and I were watching a tv show in Spanish)
  • Cebolla = onion (I saw it written down as we were going somewhere and wanted to know what it meant in English)
  • Amable = kind (I needed to know how to describe our coworkers at the school)
  • Dramático = dramatic
  • Correr = to run
  • Viento = wind
  • Lima de uñas = nail file (I so desperately need one)
  • Peluquería = hairdresser (Copo the dog needs a haircut)
  • Presentarse = to perform (I was speaking to a violin teacher today about livewire and I didn’t know how to talk about the shows in Spanish)

That’s it for today, folks! Please keep my immune system (and everyone else’s for that matter) in your hearts.

Ciao!

10 Words a Day – 03/09/18

Hola! I was told that I’ve been slacking over the weekend with my 10 words. While I don’t have 30 words to show you today (it’s quite difficult to remember to write them down when you’re at the dinner table at 10pm!), the following are a compilation of the weekend and I hope that by doing this I can get back into the swing of things this week. Anyway, here are my 10 words for today (there is a mosquito in our room at the moment and we don’t know where it is so. We’d better make this quick):

  • Calzón chino = wedgie (I feel it’s pretty self-explanatory as to why this word is on here)
  • Sacar = to take (out money) (this word is used for many different purposes, e.g. ‘to take’ a photo, but in this instance we were at an ATM)
  • Uña = fingernail / toenail (Mónica and Lindsay are avid nail-painters so I hope I can grow mine out and paint mine too!)
  • Arros = earrings (I have realised that I didn’t really bring many earrings, at least not as many as Emily seems to have brought)
  • Velatorio = wake (as in, funeral wake. We went to one briefly at the weekend which was both interesting and hard to take in at the same time)
  • Perforadora = hole-punch (Elizabeth asked us what one was today. I said hole-punch, Emily said stapler. Onto the vocab list it went)
  • Caminar = to walk (this verb has been coming up a lot recently)
  • Morado = purple (we were talking about favourite colours in our workshop today and I didn’t know what this colour was in Spanish)
  • Durazno = peach (we’ve been eating tinned peaches and cream for pudding recently, also they have peach jam here too)
  • Camioneta = van (we’ve been going to school in Miguel’s van recently due to car issues)

That’s it, I’ll (hopefully) be back tomorrow with more words!

First Week at the Project – 01/09/18

Afternoon everyone! I can’t believe it’s September, let alone that Emily and I have already been in Chile for a week now. Here, trees are beginning to blossom again, and (I think) the weather is slowly but surely getting warmer. I have survived a week without a coat – a silly thing to forget considering spring isn’t *officially* here until the end of September – and we have spent a week at our project!

In case you don’t know, Emily and I are going to be working as English language assistants at Colegio Juan Luis Undurraga over the next year. Quilicura, the commune the school is located in, and also the commune we’re living in, is one of the poorer areas of Santiago, with a large demographic of Haitian immigrants. The children at the school come from a wide range of backgrounds and many also have additional needs. As we learned this week, there are a number of children (particularly in the older classes we went into) who don’t want to study English.

Anyway, here is a rundown of the first week at our project!

Monday;

We get to school everyday for around 7:30 in the morning. Our school is in one of the rougher areas of Quilicura so Miguel has driven us in every day this week (although hopefully starting next week we can use the Micro, a bus, to get home). We met the English department (we forgot to get photos – sorry), and started the day by having a tour of the school with Fabian -the ‘head’ of the English department – and also by meeting one of Angela’s (a 3rd and 4th grade English teacher) 3rd grade classes. Needless to say it was….a bit of a shock to the system.

The classes here each include around 40 students, which means they are very noisy and can sometimes be very hard to control. The 3rd grade class was very energetic and loud, and the 5th grade class we went into with Nicholas (another English teacher) for the next lesson was equally as disrupted. I feel like we were partly responsible for that, though, as we are new and exciting. During one of the breaks, Emily and I were given (another) tour of the school by one of the girls in the 5th grade class, who was also very sweet and gave us lollipops.

In the afternoon, we went into two different kindergarten classes with Elizabeth, another one of our coworkers, and spent it singing various songs and answering questions that varied from ‘what’s your name?’ to ‘What is your favourite vegetable?’. I have also learned that people from Chile find it very hard to pronounce my name, and as such get called a number of different variations by both the students and the staff.

Needless to say we went to bed very early that evening! Below are some pictures of what you would see as you enter the school. The school is for ages 5-18, and consists of two buildings and the gymnasium. It’s a very big school, and has a lot of outdoor space considering it’s an inner-city school!

There are lots of Chilean flags about at the moment in preparation for dieciocho (Chilean Independence Day).

Tuesday:

As Fundación Belén Educa, the foundation that funds the school, is a Catholic foundation, every morning school begins with a prayer in each class. On Tuesday morning we sat in on one of the 8th grade classes’ prayer. In each class a sort of prayer cloth is put on a desk and a candle is lit. In this class we were invited to tell God what we were thankful for and spoke about values and morals that the foundation seeks to promote in all their schools.

After this, we spent part of the morning in another 8th grade English class where we watched groups of students present one of the body’s systems (digestive, circulatory, respiratory…) in English – something Emily and I were very impressed with considering when we were around 14 we were just learning how to conjugate the simple future tense in Spanish!

We then spent the rest of the morning watching a Cueca competition. La Cueca is a traditional Chilean dance, and Undurraga was hosting a competition for all ages across around 6 schools, all part of Belén Educa. Emily and I were given permission to spend the rest of the morning watching all the children (and staff) compete, which is what we did:

As you can see, we got into the school spirit! The Cueca is a traditional courting dance and aims to mirror the courting ritual of a rooster and a hen. While I may have very little rhythm when it comes to dancing, this traditional dance is something I definitely want to try over the course of our year.

After lunch, Emily and I spent the afternoon in another kindergarten class with Elizabeth, where we were shown what all the children could say in English. In this class, all of the children were able to identify different animals and objects, as well as describe them (i.e. ‘this is a blue pencil’) – something else we were very impressed by as in the UK we learn how to say that in another language in secondary school.

After school, we were picked up by Miguel and taken home, where Emily and I began to plan a display board that we were going to re-do.

(We also went over apostrophes, hence the “Jesus’ disciples” sentence with no context)

Wednesday:

On Wednesday, we began our display board, only to halt production almost instantly as we were invited on a school trip by Estefanie, another one of the English teachers. This trip occurs once every year for all of the classes in the school, and as such we decided to seize the opportunity and go.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos, but we accompanied the same 8th grade class we were with for the morning prayer to a sort of ‘retreat’ built specifically for Belén Educa and for its schools to use.

As such, we spent much of the day in a sort of classroom, where the students had to complete various activities that all centred around personal growth. These ranged from meditation in the morning, to learning to understand multiple perspectives of an event or choice they made (e.g. ‘can you understand why your parents may not want you to stay out after dark?’) and thinking about a personal challenge they want to set themselves next year.

Spending the day like this was really interesting. At least for me, our school never really did anything like this when I was there. As an newly-graduated student of secondary school, I can understand why trips like this may be tedious for the students, but I feel like they all enjoyed themselves – if not only because Emily and I were quite funny during the games we all played together (we had very little idea of what was being said by everyone).

Today was also the first day I woke up feeling homesick. While it wasn’t too bad, I feel like I was a bit grumpy in the morning. Thankfully this trip helped distract me and clear my mind (the naps I had on the way there and on the way back didn’t hurt, either).

Thursday:

On Thursday morning Emily and I finally completed our display board! As we were told by Elizabeth that students had difficulty telling the time in Spanish, let alone English, we decided to make our display around how to tell the time – coincidentally, we found out that Angela was also going to be teaching her students how to tell the time in English in the next few weeks!

Whilst we had various issues with not being able to access more paper because the office was closed for the day and sticking things in the wrong places, I feel like we did really well for our first display! Shoutout to my mum for dragging me into school that one day during the summer holidays – the knowledge of the art of making board displays was invaluable.

After our adventures in board displays, Emily and I had a short meeting with Angela about the work we will be doing in her 4th grade classes starting tomorrow (yikes!). We are going to be doing speaking intervention with the students in her class in preparation for the Cambridge Movers test they’ll be taking in October. It’s going to be difficult to start with, but I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to work more closely with the children.

We then went into an 8th grade class, the same one that we went on the trip with. This lesson was definitely the hardest of the week, as it definitely made me doubt myself the most. Despite this seemingly negative experience, spending time in the other classes made me remember all the positive experiences I’ve had so far. That, and talking to my mum in the evening.

Later on, Emily and I went to help Esteban in one of his second grade lessons. Due to a computer malfunction, we spent a lot of the lesson speaking with the students and listening to a violin performance as one girl in the class plays the violin! I have been told that there is a school orchestra and violin workshops that go on throughout the week, which is something I’m really interested in taking part in. Watching Laura play reminded me of when I first started the violin as she is around the same age I was (although I’m sure she probably practices way more than I did when I was her age).

We ended the day by going into another 8th grade English class with Alejandra. Once again, we were listening to presentations about the different body systems, however this time we were definitely more involved as we went around each group helping with presentation and getting to know the students more. Something interesting that happened was we were suddenly faced with lots of cameras at the end of the lesson – I don’t think I’ve ever had someone want to take some many photos with me in my life! The students were all really nice, and we said ‘ciao’ to the girls and were kissed on the cheek (the custom greeting and goodbye here in Chile) as we said goodbye at the end of the lesson.

Friday:

One of the highlights from Friday was the 5th grade morning prayer. As the students are younger, most of their prayer time is spent singing songs and once again asking God for things (I think most people asked for good health for their family). Once girl gave Emily and I post it notes that she’d written a note on, which definitely brought up my mood from the morning difficult day previously. I’ve decided to keep it with the lanyard I wear everyday to remind me of all the great things about my project:

I honestly didn’t realise school could be so exhausting! We woke up shattered, and didn’t quite start functioning properly until well into the day, when we assisted in a 7th grade English class of Estefanie’s. At the moment 7th grade are learning about natural disasters, so after introducing ourselves and being subjected to numerous questions from the students (who were all really kind once again), we made sure that everyone was paying attention to the video and writing down the specified vocabulary. While I was scared about getting attitude back from the students when I asked them to put their phones away and focus, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, even though I had to ask a few of the, several times! With time left at the end of the lesson, Emily and I spent time talking to a group of girls (things we were told by them: apparently all Chilean boys are gross and ‘machista’, and that they wanted to come home with us in our suitcases so they could see more of the world). Once again, we left the class after a round of kisses and hugs and ‘ciao’s.

In the afternoon we spent time in an 8th grade class and another 7th grade class, both of which we more difficult. As I think I mentioned before, students are a lot more ‘free’ in lessons, which meant that the students were less focused on the work and more on, well, anything else.

Final reflections:

Working in a school is exhausting! It’s a lot of fun, though. I’m looking forward to spending more time working with the children and coming up with ice breakers to use in the lessons. Emily and I have a lot of ideas that we want to do in school, and I’m really looking forward to what the next year will bring. For now, though, we’re going to prepare an activity to explain the present conditional.

My 10 words from over the weekend (I’m slacking, I know) will hopefully be up later on today (or in the early hours of Monday morning for all you UK residents). I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things over the next week.

Ciao!