One week down for the new year. My main impressions upon returning to U.S. schooling are positive. I am genuinly glad to be back, even as I wish I had more time with the students in Durango. My U.S. students seem to have had a good experience with Alfonsina, my Mexican counterpart. Overall, they were most pleased with the craft and culture activities she planned for them. Important for me is that it appears the students enjoyed the change of pace, even as I have received many unsolicited requests for my stories, games, and songs, just like the old days.
I am impressed with the ways in which Alfonsina tried to adapt to the situation here. My job is very different from hers in Durango. My students are much younger, there are more grade levels to teach, and different schools to which to travel. Her school is huge (around 1,500 middle school students in the day school alone, almost as much in the night school), her classrooms packed (as I have written, an average 40+ students), and her students older (all her students are the equivalent of our eighth and ninth graders). She did an incredible job making connections with many students in a short amount of time.
I have had the chance to talk to a few of my colleagues and administrators about the fall semester. The main impression they share with me is that Alfonsina was “ready to go home” during her stay, and that she wasn’t the happiest camper. Still more reason for me to believe she had done a fine job inspite of her homesickeness, and the complexity of a new job and lifestyle.