With any new teacher comes testing the limits. Thinking back to our middle and high school years, there were always kids in class who would see how much they could get away with under the substitute teacher. This constituted telling an unprepared and overwhelmed substitute that there wasn’t any homework, among other things, despite the note the teacher left.
Lydia and I have seen that a bit here during our opening weeks, as we’ve tried to absorb all of the information to be the best educators we can be. Among those have been attempts to play jacks while the profes are speaking, shorten the amount of laps we run before we stretch – always three – or even skip the warm-up altogether to have 10 extra minutes to play juegos.
However, recently we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of helpers we’ve had during class. At Los Nogales, some of the girls stepped up to remind us that new chicas need to attend at least three classes before they can get a new folder, which is nice to have the reminder when the profes forgot!
Santoni’s court is more public, allowing for outside distractions in the form of dogs, boys shooting soccer balls too closely to our chicas, and construction workers. It can be a bit difficult to reel them in when there are so many things happening around us. Yet, just last week we had another change: Profe Alika altered her hair to release the Afro, and the girls were obsessed with touching it pretty much all the time. Finally having enough, one of our captains, Adriana, decided to take control when the girls weren’t listening and demanded five laps instead of our regular three. We were excited to see her take the initiative … Until a couple minutes later when they made the laps shorter than they usually are! However, it is progress, and we were happy to see her thought process in demanding respect as well as the repercussions that ensue when respect isn’t paid. We saw even more of this at the end of class when a group of girls were playing jacks while a classmate was bravely sharing why she was happy and sad, an activity we do after every class. The girls who weren’t pleased told them how it was disrespectful to not listen when their classmate was sharing personal details, and the girls immediately put the jacks away to listen.
It isn’t perfect, but we are seeing changes every class, and it is encouraging to know that the girls are stepping up to hold each other accountable. Lyds and I can’t wait to witness as these girls start to step up into leadership positions, and we cannot believe a month has already passed with our chicas!