Sunday, April 18, 2010

Update on Wilson

So, Wilson is now officially in medical school and will begin his first year on May 17! Yay!

Here in Ecuador, instead of having an MCAT or something, they have what they call pre-university classes that you must take and pass in order to get into med school. It consists of various classes that are each 3 weeks long and pretty intensive. Wilson started in February and just finished last week. He had to take chemistry, biology, physics, and anatomy as well as Spanish (like a composition class) and Study Techniques. His classes were from 1:30-7 Monday through Saturday. The grades are on a 1-10 scale, and you had to make an 8 in order to pass. If you pass every class, you may register for med school. Wilson was one of the top students in every class. (In other words, he was the biggest dork! He had read the first chapter of each book before he ever went to the first class!!! Ha!) Ironically, his hardest class was Spanish! After failing the midterm, we studied together a lot for that one, and he was one of 3 in his class of 65 to pass it! (Good thing his sweet wife could help him learn all about thesis statements and argumentative essays!) And, he had the highest grade in his class in both Anatomy and Biology!

Needless to say, I am so proud of him! He works so hard and studies so much because he really enjoys all of that stuff. (Bless his heart, he always tries to tell me about what he's learning and I could seriously care less about the endocrine system or the processes of the pancreas! But I try to be nice and listen since he listens endlessly about all the novels I read.) He's also still working occasionally with various orthopedic surgeons here in Guayaquil. He even got to attend an international conference this weekend for the Ecuadorian Orthopedics Association because he's real good friends with the Vice-President of the organization. He worked with a Canadian doctor who was here for the conference and heard presentations from doctors from England, Argentina, Chile, etc. I also benefited from this because I got to go to the dinner on Thursday night with him at the Hilton Colon hotel (dress, heels, jewelry, and all!!! Yay!). We sat with the Canadian doctor, and he was really nice. He and Wilson laughed about the culture shock of doing surgeries here after being so used to the technology and resources available in the US and Canada.

So, I guess we'll be staying here for a while. Wilson really is so happy to actually be living out his dream, and I am just so excited for him. So, please continue to keep him in your prayers as he begins his first year. We know it will be tough, but Wilson is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. I pray that his passion and hard work will help him to be very successful!

Beach Trip with the Girls

Right before classes started back, I went with 3 other girls who teach at my school to the beach for the day. They all teach in the primary school, so I don't get to see them much. But, we had an absolutely wonderful, relaxing time. We met at the bus station at 8 in the morning, took a $2.50 bus to the beach, rented chairs and umbrellas for $2 each, hung out all day, had lunch at a restaurant on the beach, and then took a $2.50 bus back to Guayaquil around 6. I spent less than $20 for the whole thing. And it's all so convenient. The people who rent the umbrellas and all also sell drinks right there on the beach for you. And various vendors walk up and down the beach selling everything all day. The others bought fruit from the vendors, but I went for the icecream guy! :o)

But the sun is sooo strong!!! I had 30 spf sunscreen which I applied twice while we were there. I was only actually in the sun for about an hour the whole day--15 minutes out in the water, 1 hour back under the umbrella, 20 minutes walking around, 1 hour under the umbrella, etc.), and I still got burned!!!! One of my friends said they now make 100 spf, so maybe I'll try that next time. :o)

The girls I went with are lots of fun, too! Hannah is the one I do a Bible study with each week. She's married to an Ecuadorian named Wilson, too! Ha! Alicia is also married to an Ecuadorian guy, and they had their first child almost a year ago. This was actually her first trip by herself since the baby, so she certainly needed a little break! And Cat is from Canada and seems to be quite the traveler. She was in Mexico before moving here. She has traveled all over South America while living here and is such a cool person! We decided we should do that once a month or something! After only 2 weeks of school, I'm totally in need of a beach trip again for sure!!! :o)

I Never Thought I Was Organized Until I Moved to Ecuador...

So, I've been trying to write an update here for a few weeks, but with the start of the new school year, I've just been too busy. I returned to school for preplanning on March 22, and the students returned on April 5. And it has been a very interesting start for me. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Schedules: I didn't actually find out what I was teaching until about 3 or 4 days before school started. I was at school a week and a half before they told anyone what classes they would teach. You'd think they'd have gotten that together before all the teachers returned. They kept telling us to hurry up and turn in our micro and macro plans for the year, but we didn't know what classes to plan for!
2. Changes: There's always a lack of communication at my school. And therefore, there are always changes that occur out of nowhere because no one gets told. For example, our schedules were changed 3 times once school started. Actually, this past Monday, I had students from one class enter my room, and I told them they didn't have my class until later in the day because the schedule had been changed Friday afternoon. They told me that it had been changed again that morning. About 10 minutes before the end of that class, I received my new schedule. Seriously? They tell the students about schedule changes before the teachers?! They also changed the lock on my classroom 3 or 4 days after the students came back and didn't tell me. It took me another 3 or 4 days to finally get someone to give me a new key. Aaahhhh!!!!!
3. Class Rosters: They don't actually give these to teachers either. After not having one for the first week, I went to ask if they had the official rosters ready or not. The secretaries looked at me like I was the strange one and said that yes, of course. Then they pointed me to a big stack of manila folders labeled by class. I just had to go through them and find mine for each of the classes I taught. Crazy me for thinking they would give them to us without us asking!
4. Students: My classes are quite overwhelming this year. I'm teaching 4 10th grade classes and 2 11th grade classes with a total of about 175 students. Grading papers is going to be a nightmare!!! The 10th grade classes are pretty tough, but I think I just need to be patient. So many of them are used to teachers who run a dictatorship, so when they come to my class they think they can go crazy. It's hard for them to learn the balance, so I've had to come down pretty hard on them. However, my 11th grade classes are really nice. They're the same students I had last year, so they already know my routine and how I do things.
5. Parents: One of my earlier posts talked about students who could take supletorios. Well, I have even still had to give additional supletorio exams this past week as students are still trying to pass from the year before. Which also means I have parents still coming to me. And since the school just lets them come whenever, they show up in my room unexpected quite often. I have had one mother come to my room everyday for the past week and a half. Then, on Thursday, she came 3 times! I actually had to get in her face and tell her to get out the last time. She still wouldn't leave, so I had to leave and go get someone to make her. I got so frustrated that I just started speaking English to her. Ha! She wouldn't stop talking and begging me to give her child a little gift of a few points (a few points for her daughter being 22 points). Yikes!
6. Heat: The heat really is getting to me. With no air conditioning in the classes and not really enough breeze from the windows or fans to keep 35 kids cool, I just drip with sweat all day. It's so gross! And it really wears me down actually. I'm sooo tired at the end of the day! But, Wilson and I are going to buy me an extra fan to just sit at my desk, so hopefully that will help!

So, all of that to say that I've had a crazy few weeks. It was definitely much easier to start the year back at Collins Hill. But, I remember that I thought it was kind of rough when I first started back in August, and I eventually got used to it and enjoyed my students. So, I just need to be patient. Wish me luck!