The last day in school 25 was definitely the best. My teacher Karla was very nice and encouraging. This was the first chance I had to really talk to her and it is great how much she seems to really care about people from the children, to student teachers, to other members of the staff. She even helped the kids in each class organize a surprise party for the student teacher’s last day. In the class, the kids also practiced singing the song that they would sing for the school as part of English Day. Karla told me that I should introduce the class to the school before they began to sing. I was nervous but agreed to do it. The school also planned a thank you party for us with a cake. It was very nice of them since we were not there for very long and things were hectic for them right now. Everyone was very nice today.
As the school was setting up for English day, we had a chance to play with the children. My children from my third grade class really took to me and wanted to talk. Dr. Patti was really prepared with books and maps for the children and she gave me a book with both Spanish and English words to read for the children. I was actually surprised how enthused the children were with the book with just words and pictures to match because I don’t think that third graders would be as interested if the book didn’t have a story or information to go along with it. The children were greatly interested in reading the words both in Spanish and English and they were surprisingly good at reading new English words. Sometimes the girls needed help but I was surprised how many they were able to say on their own. Next, the girls asked me to read the book “The Three Little Pigs” which was written in both Spanish and English. Again I was surprised by the girls because we began where I would read the page in English and they would read the page in Spanish but then they only wanted me to read in English. I do think that they knew the story before, but I do think that a lot of the children at home would want it read in a way that they could understand well. I really loved getting to know these children and I was sad to leave them at the end.
Next, English Day began and it was interesting to see. The entire school was seated around a stage that the school built in the courtyard area. The children brought chairs from their classroom to sit in and I was surprised because when you looked at it like that, there were actually a lot of children even though the school seems small. The program started with a girl singing in English and I thought that it was amazing that she could memorize that whole song because I know that I could not memorize a whole song in Spanish. Next the school began a spelling bee where girls had to spell words in English. The girls did a great job even though they were very obviously nervous. They had extra pressure too as the ceremony was beginning we saw a news crew and later as the spelling bee was beginning, a lady who is very high up in Education came in the watch. She only stayed while the girls were actually spelling their words but it was enough to really make the girls nervous and I felt bad for them. In the middle, they also had another girl sing who did an amazing job. After the spelling bee, two student groups performed in including my third graders. I had a great time watching the children perform because they were very cute and excited and they put a lot of heart into it.
After the ceremony, it was time to say goodbye to everyone that we had met. This was hard because I really liked my teacher and the student teacher that I was working with. When I said thank you for the opportunity my teacher thanked me because she said that it was important for the children to have an opportunity to hear native English speakers. I also had a chance to meet two other student teachers who had been at the school that semester. They were very nice and they were talking about how they would like to travel to the United States eventually when they have money. They also told me that I should come back here and that the Chilean government has a scholarship so that teachers can come and work in a school for a while teaching English. I sounded like an interesting opportunity for me to practice my Spanish more as well as get some great experience teaching. I would have to see what happens though because if I could get a job teaching in the United States, that would probably be a better long term opportunity. I also don’t know if I would like teaching in this country for a whole year because the structure is just so different from what I am used to. Plus, Dr. Del Prado said that you could be placed anywhere in the country so I might not be able to stay in Santiago.
After, our awesome last day in the school, we went to ECELA for a pasta dinner. It was nice being able to talk to friends from the school again as well as meet some new people. I got to talk to Vaihi, my new friend from Tahiti and say good bye to her and talk to Nikki from Scotland. I also met new people from England, Brazil, and Austria who are all staying in the ECELA house with my other friends. ECELA also did a nice graduation ceremony for the Brazilians and us since we are leaving and gave us certificates. I am very greatful that we were able to participate in the ECELA program and actually wish we could have stayed longer because it was just an amazing experience.