We cannot believe that we are half way through project! The Secondary crew’s first week in Belize City has been very successful! Our mornings have been spent working with the lovely ladies of the YWCA! This past week consisted of mornings filled with ice breakers to get to know the girls, and lessons on effective communication, values and goals, and bullying and peer pressure. To break up the mornings we created a “show and tell” period where the girls can share whatever they wish. So far we’ve heard some beautiful singing voices, listened to some great poetry, and seen some wonderful drawings. The YWCA is unique in the sense that all four of us are teaching together! We are also fortunate enough to spend two whole weeks with the same group of wonderful young women. After an amazing first week we are more than excited to get back in the classroom with the girls! This coming week we will be focusing on healthy sexual relationships, mental health, HIV/AIDS and STIs, and substance abuse. Once our mornings at the YWCA were concluded, Georgia and Meg headed off to Sadie Vernon and Evan and Lisa, headed to Excelsior.
Sadie Vernon was a much different experience for Georgia and Meg, as the school was a lot smaller than the other schools they’d taught at. Regardless of the size, the warmth and energy of the students and staff made for a very exciting week! The lessons this week centred on goals and values, peer pressure and bullying, and leadership and group cohesion. A highlight for Georgia and Meg was creating/combining pre-existing lessons and new ideas to fit the lessons requested by the counsellor. Georgia and Meg found that the students, as well as the staff, showed great interest and enthusiasm in the lessons and activities. One of the teachers did a phenomenal job in the “Candy Pressure” exercise (exercise regarding peer pressure)! As it was teachers day on Friday, Georgia and Meg bumped into the Vice Principal and one of the teachers from Sadie Vernon at the restaurant they were at for dinner. They had a conversation with the Vice Principal, who informed them that the students and staff really enjoyed and appreciated the lessons that they had given. It was very rewarding for Georgia and Meg to hear this! After a great week at Sadie Vernon, Georgia and Meg are looking forward to their week at Gwen Lizarraga!
Evan and Lisa taught at Excelsior High School and like Georgia and Meg had the opportunity to combine their lesson ideas to create more effective discussion and lectures in the classroom. The students of Excelsior were full of energy and greeted their new teachers with enthusiasm each day. Their favourite lesson to teach this week was substance abuse which they adapted to include values and goals. Rather than focusing on the physical effects of substances, the pair chose to emphasize the way drugs affect an individuals life long term and encouraged the students to think about their own long term goals and how drugs would hinder them. The balloon activity – where a volunteer is asked to keep balloons up in the air by hitting them, while the peer educator keeps adding more balloons – really emphasized their take home point. Life is already a balancing act and it is hard enough to keep up our regular balloons (school, family, friends, etc) and by adding negative balloons (drugs, gangs, crime, etc) something is bound to fall! The pair worked with the leadership group twice last week and in their final session asked the group to write letters to themselves next year about the goals they wished to accomplish and the change they wished to make in their school community. Overall, it was an exciting week! Evan and Lisa are looking forward to getting back in the classroom on Monday at Maud Williams.
With the first half of project coming to a close, we are eagerly anticipating all that the second half of project had to offer!
Until next weekend, stay alert, stay safe, and don’t talk at the movies!
Meg, Georgia, Lisa, and Evan