I started out this semester with around 102 students in five classes...and ended up with some 88 students. Some moved to other sections, some withdrew from classes due to family or financial issues...and some just disappeared! That's how it is in college...so we just roll with it.
Many of my students here could be classified as "second language" students. In all of these classes, I had only three "gringo" students and the rest were all Latino. I believe we've mentioned before that the Rio Grande Valley is about 92% Latino...and I certainly saw that in my classes. Because so many of them do struggle with second language issues, I was able to bring into the classrooms here the very techniques, methods and 'tricks' that I used with my students at the Teachers' College in Monterrey. Again, I could see that what went before prepared me for the present!
What does school look like here? Well, I've included some pictures below from this semester. As things would have it, my birthday came around in October...and some of my students found out. Okay, ALL of my classes found out...and the all helped me celebrate!
The first class of the day on my birthday genuinely surprised me. Students in Mexico often went "over the top" for things like birthdays, but I figured that I was back in the US...and had no expectations. Oooops!
When I got to my afternoon class, I had an even bigger surprise awaiting! They not only did cake, they also decorated the room and had GIFTS for me!!! (I love this place!!!)
One of my students in another afternoon class brought something I had never before seen in my life--chocoflan...half chocolate cake and half flan! While is was a stretch for me, I dove into it...and it was delicious!!
The next morning, my Monday/Wednesday classes were not to be outdone! One of my students there loves to make strawberry cheesecake...and she shared her love with all of us in class! (Can you see the pounds just adding up already!?!?! ha,ha)
In the end, it was a wonderful semester. I was able to know so many students, to enter their lives and invite them into mine. I have a feeling that I'll be invited to wedding, birthdays and baptisms in the days to come as these students grow and change and go forward in life.
I thank God that He has given me a passion for teaching...and that teaching has allowed me to impact and touch the lives of others. Now, time to get ready for next semester!