It’s hard to believe that project is now two thirds complete, as the primary crew has just completed our second week of teaching in Dangriga. Ali and Jenna taught in San Roman at United Community Primary School, while Hilary and Jeff were over at Independence Primary School. For both of the teaching pairs, it was a nice change of pace to get out of the city and experience new and vibrant teaching atmospheres. What made the week even more eventful was that the schools were preparing for Stann Creek’s Festival of the Arts (but more on that later).
Ali and Jenna spent the week teaching at United Community Primary School, located in the serene Mayan Mountains. It was one of the girl’s busiest yet most fulfilling weeks as there wasn’t a period during the day that they weren’t teaching or singing countless recess rhymes with the kids. Ali and Jenna met with the two Standard 6 classes at the school everyday this week and had several meaningful discussions with their students surrounding the topics of sexual responsibility & condom usage, consent, HIV/AIDS, and mental health awareness. The girls additionally juggled three standard 5 classes and three Standard 4 classes teaching puberty, self-esteem, peer influence & bullying, and a bit on sexual responsibility.
Despite doubts placed on the pair’s “Good-Cop/Good-Cop” teaching style, Ali and Jenna proved that there is value in being friendly and approachable as teachers, as their students really opened up inside the classroom with any and all questions that they had about these dense topics. Furthermore, the kids at United Community involved Ali and Jenna outside the classroom sharing stories at lunch and teaching Ali and Jenna their graduation dance before school each morning.
Hilary and Jeff were warmly welcomed into Independence Primary School by both the faculty and students. The pair immediately felt like they were a part of the community, which made it easier to build connections with the students and teach more effective lessons. The pair split their time between the standard 4, 5 and 6 classes, teaching lessons on topics such as puberty, sexual responsibility, condoms, self-esteem, peer influence and bullying. Each of the classes showed great interest in the lessons and asked the peer educators a number of great questions about each topic.
An absolute highlight for the pair was their revamped lesson on self-esteem, which they tried out with each of the Standard 4 classes. The lesson incorporated both taught and interactive elements that allowed both the peer educators and the students to share experiences where they have felt their self esteem being hurt by other people. This personal touch helped the students to better engage with the topic and helped the peer educators build more meaningful relationships with the classes. The lesson was incredibly well-received by the students and the teachers.
On Wednesday night when the four Peer Educators got back to Dangriga, they received a message from Marshall to come to Sacred Heart school to watch the annual Festival of the Arts. The excited PEs made their way to the school that evening, and a variety of students from different schools in the district performed a dance/song/poem/traditional piece in hopes of receiving a gold star for their school and moving on to the country-wide festival competition. The PEs loved the opportunity to watch the performances of some of the students they had met over the past two weeks and a chance to see why Dangriga is called the cultural capital of Belize.
All in all, Dangriga has been such an incredible experience for the PEs, and they are now looking forward to their last two weeks of project. The Primary crew is now safely in Belize City, preparing for their next week of teaching at St. Luke Methodist Primary School.
Peace and Blessings,
Jeff the Elusive Chanteuse, Ali-mon, Norah (Hilary) Jones, & Baby J-Moods