It seems like just yesterday when we were writing our last blog post (see: 10 jars of peanut butter later…)! We cannot believe that week 5 of 6 has come to an end!
This week Meg and Evan taught at New Hope Secondary School in Orange Walk, and they have nothing but great things to say about their experience. The pair arrived to New Hope on Tuesday morning, as Monday was a holiday, and met with Mrs. Grant the principal. She was excited to have QHO teaching in as many classes as possible, in Forms 1 through 3. The students at New Hope were extremely well mannered and respectful – giving their full attention to Meg and Evan during class. Students were especially fond of Alien Toothbrush, Visual Broken Telephone, and Taboo – activities that demonstrate the importance of effective communication. By the end of the week, both Meg and Evan, as well as a few of the teachers and their students were experts at communication and had gained a different perspective on how communication and the use of empathy could be used to help in a bullying situation. Meg and Evan also tailored each communication lesson based on what Form/Class they were teaching in. For the First and Second Formers, the focus was more on bullying and general communication, however, with the Third Formers, Meg and Evan tailored the discussion towards Business and Vocational careers.
Meg and Evan were very fortunate to have taught several times in Mr. Leon Palacio’s classes. Mr. Palacio was very generous to the pair as he took them to the best spots for lunch – which even led to Meg eating a piece of barbecue chicken for the first time in a couple years! (Meg is (was?) a vegetarian!). He also helped organize Evan’s birthday dinner at Tan’s Pizza (May 29), making sure we had the balcony area to ourselves, and even joined us for a portion of the evening. Overall, Mr. Palacio played a huge part in making our Orange Walk experience that much better.
This week Lisa and Georgia taught at Belize High School of Agriculture. They enjoyed the 40 minute scenic bus ride-which included horses, cows, and sugar cane fields- as BHSA is situated in a very rural area of the Orange Walk district. The school grounds were home to some beautiful mango trees which serve the students well as anytime they were not in class, these delicious fruits were getting picked off the tress and thrown around to students in all the classrooms (wishing we had this luxury back at home!). Lisa and Georgia were able to teach forms 1, 2, and 3 (grades 9, 10, and 11) with lessons that focused mainly on HIV/AIDS, healthy sexual relationships, and substance abuse/values. Georgia and Lisa were extremely impressed with the questions they received in the “Question Box” (students have the opportunity to write down questions anonymously after class and put them in the Question Box in order for them to be answered the next day!) though out the week; they were very insightful and also demonstrated that the students understood the main concepts of the lessons. The substance abuse lesson, paired with values and decision making, prompted the students to think about their futures and what decisions they need to make to achieve their goals. Georgia and Lisa would like to thank the BHSA counselor Argelia for being so accommodating through out the week and congratulate all the 4th formers on their upcoming graduation!
The group had the opportunity to have dinner with Orange Walk’s HFLE coordinator Joaquin, his wife Lilian and their family on Saturday night. The family is vegetarian, so Meg especially was looking forward to the meatless Belizean cooking they offered us. The dinner was exceptional, we enjoyed soy tacos, flour and corn tortillas and vegetables. It was definitely on our list of Best Belizean meals to date! We enjoyed spending time with Dominguez family and want to thank them for their hospitality and the delicious dinner. We also enjoyed cuddling and playing with the family’s litter of puppies!
We are so excited to start our sixth and final week teaching in Belize! All four of us will be teaching in a primary school this week in Trial Farms. It will be a new and exciting experience and we cannot wait to get back in the classroom!
Until next week,
Lisa, Georgia, Meg and Evan