I'm now a month into my second year at The Cloud Forest School, in my new role as the Colegio Academic Support Teacher, working with special ed and ESL students in 7th-11th grades. I've become super-slacker with regards to updating my blog, mostly because in the second semester, I accepted the position of Assistant Director of Academics, with a lot more responsibilities. I've since resigned from that role, wanting to focus more on supporting the progress of my students and growing as an educator without so many commitments. I also want to use this job, as well as friendships and the natural beauty of Monteverde as inspiration for more writing. Keeping this blog relatively up-to-date and picking up more on my writing are both personal goals I have for this year.
One thing I realized about myself last year is that I like identifying and solving problems. But also that I cannot solve all, or really any of them, alone. As trite as that sounds, it was a huge realization, and recognizing this and also the need to focus my energy on tackling one (maybe 3) problems at a time will allow me to be successful and happy.
This lesson, of relying on others to successfully face and meet challenges, was one that Becky and I presented to our 8th grade advisory a few weeks back at the start of the school year. We started with a team-building game where each person got a word on their back and had to find and link arms with the person who had a matching word (i.e. spoon & fork, rice & beans, shoes & socks) without talking. It's not possible to see the whole problem if half of the riddle is on your back, so this is successful when a third person comes and puts two partners together. When we talked about the activity, it was clear that some folks had "cheated" and either looked at their back or whispered to a friend what was on theirs. Diego claimed this was telepathy. Next, we did a trust walk with partners, and then "Magic Carpet", which involved 18 students standing on a VERY large beach towel that my mom left for me when she visited in February (although not super useful for real beach trips, which always involved backpacking and riding several hours in a public bus, this was ideal for team building purposes). They then had to flip it over without anyone getting off the carpet/ginourmous beach towel. This was finally successful only when a "lightning storm" gave 2 students superpowers and the ability to fly (and piggyback another 2 students), but pulling each other together into a tighter group and cooperating made the task easier. So, in our discussion at the end of advisory, we asked some questions about how they solved these problems that they were presented with and what they could take away and apply to other problems, expecting answers like teamwork, cooperation, communication, etc. But, my favorite responses were: telepathy and lightning.