Thursday, March 12, 2009
Before you even attempt to go to Chile, erase the word escuela from your street vocabulary. It is never ever ever ever used here. Instead, there is colegio, which is primary school and goes until you´re seventeen, and universidad after that, which is equivalent to our college.
School works every differently here. I don´t know where to begin to explain it it´s so complicated. In colegio there are four different levels of ¨high school,¨ but you finish with school a year earlier than in the US, so graduation is when you´re seventeen. Each level has three classes, I guess you could call them home rooms, named A, B, or C. I am in III B. So, the third level class B.
In the school day, you have some classes with your homeroom class and then electives, which will include people from the other classes. What your electives are is based on what track you choose for Colegio/High School. There is Math, Science, Art, and Humanistic. Whatever track you choose, all your electives have something to do with that subject so that you´re really focusing in on it. To me, this doesn´t make sense. Here, if you decide to take Biology you have to take Biology again with your class so you learn the same thing twice. It´s very weird and not very effective in my opinion. The way the elective/track/whatever you call it schedule leaves me with 15 classes or so in one week. That´s a lot of different notebooks.
When I originally started corresponding with my family, an immediate question was how many classes I had and they said something like 19 in one week. I couldn´t even comprehend how that was possible, but after going through it myself I can give a pretty good break down of how it workds. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday school goes till 5 o´clock. In the morning you have four classes, three of them take two periods, each period is 45 minutes, and the fourth only lasts for one period. Between the big block classes you have about a 15 minute break where you can roam around or go buy a snack. Lunch is at 1:45 and for an hour. After lunch, there are three more class. One is two periods and the last is only one. On Thursday and Friday school ends at 1:45 and you go home for lunch. I think that´s my favorite part. I don´t think I could handle going to school for 5 days a week till 5. That´s two more hours than normal and we always start at eight.
Some other things about school that should be noted:
-NOBODY every pays attention. In class they´re on their phones, or drawing, or talking and there´s no punishment for this. You just do what you want. I really do think it´s because the classes are so long. I can´t sit there for an hour and a half with no break without getting antsy and loosing my patience and that´s not just because the class is in Spanish and I don´t understand, it´s everyone. The way the kids act seems very disrespectful to me especially for a region of the world that is known for respecting their elders by having a whole verb form that´s used for addressing an elder. For example, today we had physics and we were learning about vectors except it was one of those periods where no one cared enough to pay attention. The poor teacher seemed so sad. He just stood in front of the class, his lesson plan written on the board not knowning what to do. Or he was standing there waiting for everyone to notice he was upset and get quiet, which works with some teachers, but in his case it was a total fail.
-The relationship between the teachers and students is very different. They always hug and kiss each other. My first day was really weird. I didn´t know what to do when I was introduced to my professors. It´s an oddly friendly ideal for me, since in the US it would be considered awful for an adult to touch a child, especially a student. The teachers also tend to know a lot about your personal life.
-When the kid wants the attention of the teacher they whineSeññññññññor or Profeeeee without raising their hands.
-It´s common for the students to complain about what we´re doing or whether or not the light should be on blah blah blah Someone´s always unhappy.
-The only foreign language option is English. There are four different levels for each grade depending on how good you are. When I went to the class that was the best they were learning about AIM slang. LOL! :)
-The buzzer for classes is more is more like your phone being on vibrate and projecting that noise into a megaphone so everyone can hear it. It lasts for about a minute.
-THE CAFETERIA FOOD IS SO GOOD. It´s a delicious home cooked meal everyday and everything is fresh. Plus, they use actual plates, glasses, and silverwear. I love it. Your food is prepaid before the year starts so all you have to do is go through the line to get your drink, desert, and main meal. All of which are served to you.
-They don´t have textbooks for any classes.
-Math class is very different. The professor just writes problems on the board and we try to do them and then we do them all together since nobody in the class can do them alone because they´re ridiculously hard. An example would be (and this is one of the easier one because i don´t know how to write some of the other out on a computer) m-3(m+n)+(-(-(-2m+n-2-3(m-n+1))+m)) If you want the answer let me know.
- I do go to a Catholic school. So every morning the President and Vice President of the class go to the front and say what I think is the Spanish version of the the Lord´s Prayer. They then ask if anyone has anything that they´d like them to pray for. It´s a really nice way to hear about what´s going on in other people´s lives and what´s a touchy subject.
-You need to wear your uniform everyday and there are four people whos job is solely to go around and make sure that people are wearing their uniform. They´re called inspectors.
-The school has kids from Pre-K to ¨Seniors¨
I think that might be everything. I think.
(Above is a picture of my class)