Saturday, January 29, 2011

Benefits of Working at an International School (part 1)

While there are many ways that teaching is a rewarding experience in whatever way you do it, I have found it particularly rewarding at an International School. Here are a few reasons why:

1) International schools not only attract the local people in the environment, but also a large number of international students who reside in that environment. Because of this, I have had the opportunity to not only learn about Guatemalan culture, but Korean, Hebrew, Arabic and Brazilian. I have students who offer to share their knowledge of foreign alphabets, foods, and customs. They love to switch roles and be my teacher and I really enjoy learning from them.

2)Guatemalan schools start in January. Particularly at this moment, I am grateful that I work in an International school where, in January, I am halfway through my school year!

3)I am constantly able to improve my Spanish vocabulary. With many local teachers more than happy to help me out with a word or phrase I don't understand, my Spanish has gotten much better since I began my job teaching in Guatemala. I appreciate having highly intelligent and bilingual people to learn from.

4) Teachers at International schools come from all over the world! Because of this I am constantly learning about new places and things I had limited knowledge of before. Not only do many teachers come from other places, but, after making new friends who were here last year, I now know people scattered in their new assignments all over the world. I get to read about current events in their countries and learn new things with them virtually. It's pretty amazing!

Have you ever attended or taught at an International school? What were your experiences? If not, would you like to?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The price of produce

One of my absolute favorite things about shopping in Guatemala is the low prices for fresh produce. There are a myriad of markets, stores, and produce-wagon-pushers to choose from. Since we usually have time for shopping only on the weekends, and we usually need more than produce, we usually just go to Paiz, the Guatemalan version of WalMart. Though it may be a bit more expensive, the guarded parking lot and other safety features make up for the small difference in price. Last weekend we had a cart full of produce:

1 Honeydew Melon Q5.50
1 large bunch of bananas Q4.70
1lb. bag of tomatoes Q4.19
1 bag of fresh green beans Q4.40
3 big stalks of broccoli Q5.95
2 avocados Q8.85
1 large bag of shelled English peas Q8.80
5 imported oranges (seedless) Q21.75
1 (amazing) pineapple Q13.95
5lbs. potatoes Q25.65
5 gala apples Q14.77

Total: Q118.51

Divide that by 8 to get an estimate of the dollars and we bought a cart full of produce for about $14.81. I love it. It's so much easier to eat healthier when the fresh produce cost less than the canned and packaged options!