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Second Day at La Pedrera

Today I worked with the following kids:

Elsa, 6 years old, in Parvulos (like Kindergarten) has 3 siblings.

Carina, 10 years old, in First grade, has 5 siblings.

Susana, 8 years old, in First grade, has 11 siblings.

Evelin 8 years old, in First grade, has 0 siblings.

Wilson, 7 years old, in First grade, has 3 siblings.

Jose, 10 years old, in Second grade, has 3 siblings.

Chelsea, 10 years old, in Fourth grade, has 3 siblings.

Estrellita, 9 years old, in Third grade, has 4 siblings.

Merli, 13 years old, in Sixth grade, has 8 siblings.

Jose Luis, 8 years old, in Second grade, has 5 siblings.

David, 10 years old, in Third grade, has 3 siblings.

This kids come to La Pedrera after school, climbing a huge mountain, up switch backs. Some come with home work, some without.  All want to practice thier subjects.  I help all of them with division and addition for two hours and then we eat arroz con leche made by Teresa.  for some this is the second and last meal of the day.  This is a special day because, Allison (an education student in her last year) is leaving tomorrow.  She has been here for 10 weeks helping the kids learn computer science among other things.  All of the kids have made thank you cards for her.  They each take turns standing up and giving thanks and appreciations to her.  She is in tears and I am about to be. 

As Allison and I decended the mountain back to Casa Xelaju, I told her that I did not want to burst her bubble, but that was probably going to be the best expereince of her teaching career.  By this I mean, the kids in the states do NOT come to aftercare programs asking for extra work.  It is like pulling teeth to get them to finish their homework.  Sometimes it tis like pulling teeth to get them to participate in afterschool classes that are not event academic in nature.  These kids are hungry for knowledge and like to show off to each other just what they can do, mathematically other oitherwise.  Most kids just want to get back to thier Nintendos and microwave pizza pockets.  They could care less about passing thier classes or excelling in thier studies.

The children of La Pedrera have probably tainted Allison for a US class room.  I know that they did for me years ago.  I went in to the classroom expecting to see eager faces hungry for knowledge.  I thought that I would be working with parents who were interested in thier children�s education.  I thought that I would be working wiht people who were dedicated to social change though education.  What I found were disinterested children or stressed out children.  I found antagonistic parents and parents who felt that the education of e�thier children was entirely my responsibility.  I found burt out and jaded teachers and administrators who were just going through the motions, because that is what they have always done.  It is true that there are still some teachers who really care about what they are doing, but now thier emphasis is on getting the kids to "grade level" and increasing test scores, not on raising consciousness or self esteem.

i am so thankful for La Pedrera.

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