February 27, 2010

San Vicente Field Trip

And I'm back from the field trip! San Vicente is an amazing place and overall we had a great time on our field trip. Here is how I spent some of my time over the last three days:

  • 5:40am - Steph & I picked up another teacher, Angie, to head to school!
  • 6:00am - Arrive at school and waited for very excited, but sleepy, students to arrive.
  • 7:00am - Finally leave school, 30 minutes late, because one of the chaperones locked his keys in his car...awesome.
  • 1:00pm - Arrive in San Vicente after 6 hours on the bus with our students. They were surprisingly well behaved and not too antsy on the bus ride, probably because they were mostly asleep until about 11. Spend some time getting everyone organized in their rooms/cabins.
Teacher cabin.
Outside of teacher cabin - hammock, outdoor shower and our own thermal pool...I could get used to field trips...
  • 1:30pm - Lunch. Here I come to the realization that they will probably serve rice a majority of the weekend. Since I decided to not eat rice or pasta during Lent I begin to question what I will eat the next few days.

View of cafeteria/main building from the bridge that runs through the grounds.
  • Afternoon - Free time with my activity group, during which we explored some of the thermal hot springs pools and spent some time in the spa! I went with some of my students to the "Oats & Honey" treatment, where I received a massage with a oats and honey mixture that was not as sticky as it sounds and actually really fun.
Small thermal pool near the spa.
Main thermal pool...which was pretty much always full of students.
Relaxing in the thermal waterfall! I love being a teacher. :)
  • 7:30pm - Dinner - rice again, awesome. Looks like I will be eating lots of plantains on this trip.
Main cafeteria.
  • 8:30pm - Free time until bedtime...my students decide to play a modified version of Spin the Bottle by spinning a flashlight around on a table and seeing who it lands on. Then that boy and girl had to kiss on the cheek. I found this absolutely hilarious considering Colombians kiss each other on the cheek ALL THE TIME as a form of saying hello. My students got so into the game and basically freaked out EVERY time the flashlight landed on someone.
  • 10:00pm - Students in their rooms to prepare for lights out at 11pm. After some time on duty and getting students settled down I finally got to bed around 12am. Grrrreat.
  • 7:30am - Breakfast of eggs and arepas - no rice!
  • 9:00am - My activity group departs on the "long hike" of the trip, which took about three hours in total and finished at a stunning waterfall full of ice cold water. Students signed up for the hike if they wanted to attend in order to minimize complaining from those who aren't into hiking. My group went on the hike with another group and this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip! My students totally got into it and helped each other along, and I got to hang out with them in a totally new environment.
Starting out on a very muddy trail!
Covered in mud by the time we reached the end of the trail! My Keens used to be green...
View of the waterfall at the end of the trail.
Our whole hiking group.
He didn't want to take off his tennis shoes...so I carried him across the river while we directed me and constantly said "Don't drop me Meeesus!"
Playing in the waterfall! They came out absolutely shivering...
  • 12:30pm - Lunch...I don't really remember what it was, but it was definitely served with rice.
  • 2:00pm - Canopy/zip lines! All of my students had been on a zip line before and convinced me that I had to do it, so after all 9 of them went sailing through the air I followed.

My first zip line experience!
  • Afternoon - While my students met with the counselor for his activity I took a nap (yay!) and then we spent the afternoon playing volleyball in the pool & relaxing. Such a great end to a jam-packed day.
  • 7:00pm - Dinner & bonfire.

Female 8th grade teachers at the bonfire: Me, Ketty, Jessy, Angie & Steph.
  • 11:00pm - Lights out - teachers on duty return to go to bed for the night...
  • 1:45am - Cell phones that were confiscated from students during the day start going off with alarms...we find this odd that alarms went off in the middle of the night, but we shut them off and go back to bed.
  • Somewhere around 2:30am - We hear the dean of students banging on the door of the room next door, and figure out that he is hunting down students who are missing from their rooms.
  • Somewhere around 3:00am - We are informed that about 40 (aka HALF THE 8TH GRADE CLASS) students are sitting in the cafeteria as punishment for being found outside of their bedrooms, either running around the grounds, or in a room of the opposite gender. In total they sat there for about an hour, some closer to two hours, in the middle of the night for sneaking out of their rooms. How did they get caught?? Chaperones heard them banging on each other's doors around 2:00am. Great work, ladies and gentlemen.
  • 7:30am - Arrive to a very tense breakfast environment where the students don't know how they will be punished for breaking a major security rule. Most people are sleep deprived and in general I feel pretty disappointed in my students because the field trip was going so amazingly well up until this point. I can't really pretend that I never snuck out of my room on a school field trip (sorry Mom!), but 40 of them out of their rooms is ridiculous, especially considered the implied security issues of being outside in the middle of the night and running back and forth across the river that flowed through the middle of the grounds.
  • 8:00am - Decide to de-stress from the night and enjoy the rest of my group's spa time with a massage. I had never gotten a full massage before, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity - I loooooooved it. I could definitely be a teacher year round if we went on more field trips like this.
  • 9:30am - Met up with my students for our last activity - rappelling down a waterfall! Again, my students told me I had to do it, and even though I was the last one, they waited for me at the bottom to finish. The rappelling experience was a bit terrifying, but in general a really cool way to spend a morning. I was so impressed with my students who just went for it, without looking back or thinking too much about the heights. I came to the conclusion that my Colombian students are just more outdoorsy that my US students, perhaps because they have so many more opportunities for outdoor things here. At any rate, they did an awesome job encouraging each other and me!

Ready to go!
  • 12:00pm - Lunch & packing
  • 1:30pm - We were supposed to board the buses and leave. Instead we are told the buses are on their way. We proceed to play a few rounds of Bananagrams to wait it out.

Me with two students as we wait to leave.
  • 2:30pm - Two of three buses arrive and we squeeze all 100 people onto two buses for the first 45 minutes of the journey. Sitting three to a seat going over rolling hills and winding countryside in Colombia = zero fun.
  • 3:30pm - Finally on three different buses, sitting comfortably. I finish grading a class worth of Algebra tests and feel quite productive.
  • 6:30pm - About an hour or so from Cali we are informed that the third bus has run out of gas and we need to wait for them. Awesome.
  • 7:00pm - Pull over at a roadside stand so the students can get snacks, since we are all starving.
  • 7:15 pm - I am beyond sarcasm and snarky-ness with my students. I am so sick of being around them I actually stop listening to what they say before I say no. Clearly this field trip needs to be over.
  • 8:00pm - The third bus arrives and we all depart.
  • 8:15pm - I have a lengthy conversation with two of my male students about who would make the best couples in the 8th grade class. A great way to pass the last hour into Cali.
  • 9:30pm - Arrive at the northern drop off point in Cali, where Steph and I sort of bail on the other teachers by departing since we live in the north. One of the parents from our school's parents association gives us a ride home.
  • 10:00pm - Home at last :)
As you can tell the trip got a bit long near the end and I was more than ready to be back in my own bed last night, but I am so glad we went. I talked to students who I did not previously have a strong relationship with. I tried some new activities. I bonded with the 8th grade team of teachers. The list could go on, but overall I am excited to go again next year....I just might personally organize the transportation and handcuff my students to their beds at night. ;)

1 comment:

Robert said...

Greetings from Cyprus, enjoyed your blog and some great photo's. Regards


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