Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Costa Rica: Zip Lining To The Finish - 6/7/13

So the time has come to say goodbye to Monteverde. I truly feel that I have acquired a new family. I couldn't possibly say enough good things about them. They took me in and provided hospitality at the highest level. Teaching me about the culture and the language. They even said they'd keep the room I stayed in available for me in the future! 

The last two days in Monteverde were really good. We had a great adventure on Thursday with the Sky Trek zip lining. Then followed that up by having a great last night with the family. 

Spanish Class

Despite only have two days left of class our teacher had us going full speed to the end. In the last two days we went back to more focus on the grammatical aspects of Spanish. Specifically learning about past tense for irregular verbs. Irregular verbs were hard in the first place, but adding in the past tense was even harder. The reason being was that the past tense doesn't follow the same groupings the present tense does. Its a completely different structure of rules! Needless to say I struggled and I know my classmates did too. By this time everyone was mentally exhausted and ready to shut down. I really did try till the end but felt it was only sticking for ten minutes at a time. I can't imagine feeling that way for months or a whole school year like some ELLs do. After these three weeks I went from not knowing anything to being able to get around Costa Rica and hold small conversations. 

Takeaway: Mental fatigue is very real. I know I touched on this last post, but I can't stress it enough. I know my Spanish teacher knew we were crunched for time and wanted us to push on. But in my future classroom I need to be more attentive to that situation happening to my students. Thus building in some light work days or "fun" days where the students can take a mental break. The other thing I've realized overall is that not only a balance between grammatical and conversational skills is needed, but also vocabulary work is needed as well. There were numerous times where I was learning a new grammatical feature and wanted to us it in a situation, but didn't know enough nouns or other words to pull from. A good idea would to create a word wall where the student puts words that they discovered along with a short definition or picture. 

Zip Lining

First thing is first. When we heard that we were going on a zip line our group was excited. But then the doubts started to creep in. How high are we going to be? How fast are we going to go? And many other questions. Some of us don't deal well with heights, others don't like the idea of being near a ledge. That being said the Sky Trek tour was amazing! Its noted as the highest and longest in the area. We took a sky lift up a mountain and then climbed a tower to start the tour. You could see everything! The view was just incredible and my own fears were gone by the second line. I wish I could have used my camera during the ride. I definitely would go on this again!

Got my gear and ready to go!

On the way to the top!

Just hanging out before one of the lines. 

Takeaway: Zip lining is so much fun!! Most things can be conquered by having a great mental attitude. For me, I just kept saying to myself, "I'm having fun." 

Family Time

There's nothing more I can say about family time. Each night is just as fun as the last. Whether its watching Spanish soap operas or coloring with my hermano tico. Also the Costa Rica national soccer team has been on TV lately. So we've been watching them play. Its so funny to hear my mama tica go from sweet and funny to yelling at the TV. Not to mention just getting to sit and talk to the family about the day's events is still good. 

Our final photo together. They will always be with me, hopefully I'll get to visit them in the future!

Takeaway: Family is family no matter where you go. Nothing can top kindness and genuine hospitality. I have learned to always take the extra effort to meet people and get to know them on a personal level. In my future classrooms I want to establish that parent-teacher relationship early as a way to understand my students at a personal level. Also it creates a support system for the student. 

Other Observations from the week:
- I officially completed 60 hours of Spanish
- I completed my first home stay and would vouch for others to do the same!

Stay tuned for my wrap-up post from Costa Rica. 


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