Today marks my 1 month anniversary in
Overall, things at my school are going very well. I am very impressed with the level of English my students speak. I am realizing the difficult part about my role is going to be defining my purpose. As part of my contract I am supposed to assist in 16 periods of week. 8 periods are spent with English classes and 8 are spent with social science classes. Because there are two sections of bilingual classes for all four grades, this means I spend one period a week with each English class and one period a week with each social science class. I am struggling with this set up because I am working with 7 different teachers and I feel like a visitor in the classes rather than a permanent teacher. Many of the teachers do not have lesson plans or syllabi they can provide me so most of the time I find out what the class is doing when I walk into the classroom. However, I feel awkward about taking charge because I don’t know how the teacher generally runs the classroom, what material they have covered in the previous week, and I don’t know the students that well so I don’t know how to make them learn most effectively. I am sure this will improve with time but right now I am overwhelmed trying to learn the students’ names and figuring out the different norms and rules each teacher insists upon.
Two Saturday, I went to
This Saturday, I went to a screening of the presidential debate. While it aired on Friday night in the states due to time change issues, the rebroadcast was not until the following evening. The rebroadcast was held in a building called Casa de la America (American House) and was put on by Democrats Abroad. At the event, there were also representatives from the
Last night, I went over to one of my friend’s house for Rosh Hashanah. In my program there are five other Jewish girls (overall there are about twice as many females than males in the Fulbright program) and no Jewish guys. One of the girls found a synagogue that we could go to for services. This was actually pretty difficult. Most of the synagogues do not have websites, and they do not list their addresses online out of fear for security. When we arrived at the synagogue we had to enter in groups of two so that we could be screened by security. We had to have our actual passport, no a photocopy and they questioned us about why we wanted to attend services. After passing inspection, we were asked whether we wanted to attend the Ashkenazi or Sephardic service and had to pay 20 Euros in order to attend the High Holy Day services. We went to the Ashkenazi service which was conducted in a Conservadox manner. Men sat in the middle section and women were on the left and right side separated by a piece of lattice. There were many American students studying abroad at the service in addition to members of the synagogue and there was a range in clothing styles. Some women wore pants and blouse while others were in skirts and one girl was wearing a strapless dress. The service was conducted by a Chabbad rabbi and only lasted 40 minutes. The prayers were done in Hebrew but the announcements were done in Spanish and English. There was no sermon, just an update on
After services ended we went to my friend’s house for dinner which was delicious. Everyone had made a dish and we had plenty of food. There was salad, apples and honey, potato kuggel, chicken, fish, challah, and apple crisp. We sat around discussing our experiences in