Hi again friends! Your Belize Primary Project here to report on another action-packed week on project!
We now have another week under our belts, and have finished the first half of our time in Cayo district! For this two week period we’re changing up our teaching pairs, Joanne with Trevor and Kayla with Annie. Since we’re staying in San Ignacio we have a 45 minute commute to Belmopan every morning to get to the schools the Ministry assigned for us. Once we stepped off the bus in Belmopan we befriended Robert, a cab driver who took us to school and gave us a wonderful first impression of the people of Belmopan. Kayla and Annie were the first ones to hop out of the cab at their school for the week, United Evergreen Primary School.
When we got to school we were amazed at how much bigger it was compared to our schools in Toledo. Upon meeting with Principal Witty, we found out that within each standard, there were at least three to four classes of them. Gone are the days of mixed standard classes we had in Toledo! This meant that we had more students to teach then we had before. We started teaching that very morning to get the ball rolling!
Kayla spent the morning with the standard four classes teaching substance abuse, and Annie had the standard five classes where she taught about nutrition. Even after our first day of teaching at United Evergreen we could tell that the students were going to challenge us in new and different ways then those in Toledo. At United Evergreen we found that the students were not afraid to ask A LOT of questions. This was fantastic! It really put our knowledge to test, and challenged our ability to think on our feet with these keener kids. On Tuesday Annie and Kayla split up again, with Annie teaching nutrition to the remainder of the standard fives and Kayla moving on to sexual responsibility with the standard sixes. As per usual, the students had a number of amazing questions that we weren’t able to answer in one period. Thankfully, the next morning the teachers welcomed us back into the standard six classes and we were able to answer all of the written questions the students gave us, and the ones they asked during our Q&A session. To see how curious and engaged the students were was extremely rewarding.
Trevor and Jo taught at Gardencity Primary School for the week, which was about a 15 minute walk in the opposite direction of United Evergreen. We managed to set up our schedule so we were able to teach Std 6 classes each morning and Std 5 in the afternoon. For Monday and Tuesday we taught one class together first thing in the morning and then split up to teach solo classes just before lunch — allowing us to cover puberty and sexual responsibility with all three of the Std 6 classes. The clouds decided to open up on Wednesday morning, which meant that a lot of students decided not to come to school, so all the Std 6 classes were combined to a mega-class for a substance abuse lesson that lasted the whole morning! It was certainly a challenge teaching 40+ students in one small classroom, but like always, a competitive review game showed us that they learned the material. Throughout the rest of the week we also taught puberty and sexual responsibility lessons to two separate Std 5 classes, and a bullying and self-esteem lesson to two Std 4 classes.
Like Annie and Kayla, we found that the students were eager to learn, but their questions were definitely more challenging to address, so we were constantly kept on our toes! We also found that the students knew a lot more about the sex and substance-abuse related topics (although unfortunately not always the right information), which probably comes with being in a more urban setting compared to the smaller and more isolated schools we taught at in Toledo. Because of the larger school size this week we taught a lot of classes by ourselves, and we find that we are constantly learning, whether it be classroom management or appropriately addressing the students’ questions. As a result we are definitely feeling more prepared for our last two weeks in the big city (Belize).
One of the interesting challenges for this week was that it was Education Week at the primary schools. This meant a modified class schedule, and Thursday at both schools was a designated Sports Day. The four of us were more than happy to help plan and carry out the day’s activities at both schools. Annie and Kayla worked specifically with the standard fives at United Evergreen for the day. On Wednesday we met with the standard five teachers and came up with activities and a schedule. We also had the crafty task of making all of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons for the day’s events, putting our creative abilities to the test. This really was a team effort, and Jo and Trevor were recruited to assist. Fun fact, Trevor is an excellent ribbon maker!
When Thursday morning rolled around the students were excited for the day’s activities. They did everything from jump rope, to football, to popping balloons with their butts. It really was an opportunity for them to get outside, be active, and work as a team. After Sports Day and our amazing week of classes, there was no denying that United Evergreen was a school full of amazing students, teachers, and energy!
This past weekend the Secondary project made the trip down from Belize City to catch up with us in San Ignacio. We took advantage of this time together, half way through project, to discuss how project has gone so far and what our goals are for the next three weeks.
So from the rainy, thunder filled skies of San Ignacio, we hope everyone is having a great long weekend!
Three Legged Race winners at United Evergreen!
The deceptively challenging sponge in bottle relay
Skip rope champions!