Thursday, February 28, 2013

This post is short... just like February

It’s a Thursday morning at 5:45… why am I up?  My landlady and I walk together in the mornings several times a week, but there happen to be many occasions when one of us accidentally sleep in.  Today was her day J  It’s okay though; it gives me some time to start functioning and enjoy a relaxing start to my day.  February’s almost over and things are crazy nuts at school, so I have very little time to chill out.

I spent last week at a friend’s site in Olongapo, Zambales.  She and another PCV organized an English/Empowerment camp for students in the Special Ed program at a local high school.  Some of the students who participated had various learning disabilities, some had cerebral palsy or downs syndrome, but the majority of students were deaf.  It was the most challenging and eye-opening experience I have ever had as a teacher.  Finding ways to non-verbally communicate was very difficult for me.  I felt badly when I couldn’t get my message across to the students, but there were Sped teachers in the classrooms (most of the time) to assist by using sign language.  Otherwise I was using a lot of impromptu/made up sign language of my own.  Hopefully none of it translated to something offensive or ridiculous!

The session that my friend and I taught was about storytelling.  We used visuals like pictures from magazines, drawings, and cartoon strips from the newspaper to demonstrate storytelling without using all five senses.  The progress that the students demonstrated over the week was incredible and very moving to me.  In addition, the reactions of the children towards their work were so special.  Smiling and laughing, showing pride in their work… It was so awesome.  They arrived every morning with enthusiasm and greetings in sign language.  I was able to learn the alphabet and a few simple phrases.  The camp was really inspiring to me, and is definitely one of the highlights of my Peace Corps service.  I am so glad I was able to be there.

The rest of February kind of disappeared.  I haven’t been so busy in… well, ever.  I’ve rambled about my projects before, so I won’t get into the nitty gritty or anything, but it’s causing me quite a bit of stress.  Good stress, but stress nonetheless.  (That rhymed!)  We have about four weeks left of school, which is SO bizarre to me.  People have started asking questions about when I finish service, and when I say September, I always received surprised looks and reactions.  My students (especially 7th graders, who I’ve worked with the most this year in remedial reading) respond with disappointed “awwws” and frowns, as well as “Please stay, Ma’am!.”  (As much as that’s sort of sad to hear from the cute 12 year-olds, it secretly makes me feel good.)

Eek!  Just finished my pineapple and looked at the clock!  Time to run!  March is sure to be full of excitement, so look forward to my next post J


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