Saturday, December 13, 2008

The last week has been hectic. Trying to finish out the units so everyone has the Christmas Break off. Yes, down here itis still called Christmas Break, not Winter Break. Well, this was the last day before I leave for the states. Went shopping and mellowed out in a park. Then it was home to pack, say goodbyes, take some pictures (OK, some of them are fuzzy, but I was in a hurry). Hope to see or talk to you this Holiday Season
Felice Natividad y prospero anos!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The lost of a student - Emma Tello

This has taken me a long time to write because it is hard on a teacher when they lose a student that you liked and thought could go a long way in life. It is even more so when you teach in a small school. Emma Tello was such a student. She was one of the 45 tenth grade students that I teach at Colegio Panamericano. When the high school has only around 200 students total, and everybody grew up with everybody as they went through the grades, the students all know each other (even in other grades) and these makes it even harder on them. Emma was killed in a car accident involving a bad road, alcohol, a cell phone and no seat belt. She died on scene and it has hit our little community hard. For three days straight I went to church services at the school, 2 different High Masses, and a funeral.
It is so different here when you lose a student than when I taught in Long Beach. You had a lot more students (182 to 83) to get to know there, and you can only get to so know so many of them well. Also, here it is more of like you are part of a small community. You go to events and happenings where you interact with your students and their families. Like tonight, I am going to Candle Night,this is the official beginning of the Christmas season here in Colombia. The family gets together and they turn out their lights for two hours. Then the family does something special, like reading a book with your family by candlelight. Then you enjoy a quiet dinner with some special people. This night can mean many things for many people. But, it is seen as a time to save energy, to think about peace, to think about your family and friends, and the people in distant lands who share your planet.
Anyway,I am digressing. Emma was a beautiful person, a great student, and our school, our community, and myself personally with miss her.