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The first three weeks

I started the NYC Teaching Fellow’s spring apprenticeship, and it’s been an interesting start.  The school I was assigned to was in East New York, 3 transfers, and if everything went perfectly, a little over 2 hours from my house.  Clearly, this was not doable with the baby, so I pleaded with the program to switch me.  Unfortunately, they denied my request, so after a bunch of brainstorming, we decided to purchase a car, decreasing my commute by 1.5 hours, but increasing the cost to $10.66 a day worth of tolls.  So after much scrambling, I rented a car, prepping myself to purchase a vehicle for travel.  And then, my amazing family in Virginia, said that they had a little old car that they no longer needed, and that if I could find a way to get it to NYC, I could have it.  So I found a place to ship the car, and ta-da, we became car owners for the first time in 2.5 years.

My school, however, was fantastic.  My cooperating teacher was also amazing.  I was sitting in on a 6th grade science class, where the teacher had four different sections, ranging from high learners to students classified as special education students with IEP (individualized Education Program).  Prior to my experience in the classroom, I assumed special education were students who were severely mentally and physically disabled.  However, that isn’t true; special education students run the gamut of different diagnoses, from moderate learning disabilities to bipolar disorder to asperger’s syndrome.  Each one of these students is assessed, and they are put on a plan, the IEP, that is appropriate for their learning needs. 

On day three, I get a call from the NYC Teaching Fellows that I was placed in the wrong school.  Because I was accepted into the Blending Learning Institute, I was supposed to be placed in an IZone school, where they implement a blended classroom.  The school in East New York was not an IZone school, and therefore I was being transferred to a school in the Bronx, 20 minutes via public transportation from our house!

So now I am at Mott Hall V, in the south Bronx, working with another great cooperating teacher in a blended learning classroom.  I am sitting in on a 7th grade class, 3 different sections, again with different learning needs and then two classes of 6th grade computer technology.  This classroom has a beautiful SmartBoard, and the students have access to MacBook Pros in most of their classes. 

I am just delving into the Blended Learning Institute, so as I learn more about the certificate program, I will post more. However, so far, I am finding the Spring Apprenticeship to be a great learning experience, and I have already had the chance to teach a couple of lessons (and getting great feedback on how to improve my skills). 



Back to work!

I was selected to be a part of the 2014 NYC Teaching Fellow program as well as the spring apprenticeship. I will begin on March 17th, in a Title I school, hopefully somewhere in the Bronx.  The spring apprenticeship goes for 10 weeks, where I will shadow a fellow chemistry teacher and then eventually teach in her/his classroom; I would imagine it is similar to student teaching.  In the summer, I have a 7 week training program, and then I will apply for full time teaching positions that begin in the fall.  The program has a 98% placement rate for chemistry fellows, so I am fairly confident I will land a position.

In the next couple of months, I have to take three certification exams, register for classes (the program will help me gain my Master’s in as little as two years, but more likely three years) and do a whole lot of prep work to get me in the classroom.  But one thing is for sure, this is what I wanted when I decided to go back and study chemistry.  I’m so excited to be back in the classroom, and I am even more excited to be a part of a program that helps the students who need it the most.

And although I am really ready to return to work, I am going to miss Declan a lot.  I have no doubt he will have a blast in daycare, and he probably won’t miss me any where near as much as I will miss him.  I think I will blink, and he’ll be packing for college.

Wish me luck!


A nice addition to the futbol match Jason and I went to with a good friend. Check it out!


sponsored by CristalMy first South American soccer experience was Peru vs Venezuela in a World Cup qualifying match at the national stadium in Lima.  Obviously fútbol is THE sport in Peru as it is throughout Latin America, and so a World Cup qualifier is a pretty hard ticket to come by.  Luckily a friend had a connection, and by connection I mean Craig’s List.  Yes, there’s a Craig’s List for Peru (we also have Radio Shack, KFC, electricity, automobiles, and indoor plumbing).  So for a somewhat reasonable markup (50%) we got 4 tickets right at midfield.  It should be noted that the north and south ends of the stadium have separate entrances and and are usually filled with the more…enthusiastic fans.  Security is tighter for these sections, no belts for example, and I was warned by a student that the locals would do unspeakable things to us gringos if we…

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Two days off? Yes, please!

The Peruvian government declared yesterday and today holidays due to the South American-Arab Summit being held here in Lima.  I like that the government was just so nonchalant about giving Lima the two days off, which also means that last week was my last full week of school before spring break. Next Monday is a national holiday, the Battle of Angamos (we lost the battle but won the war, so to speak), and this girl is NOT complaining.  I need a holiday.

I am also told that spring break will bring back the sun, something that we haven’t really seen in so long.  I don’t know how people survive the winters here; the grey skies, the foggy mist day in and day out.  I am certainly not cut out for it (which means our next location will be some place like Seattle, LOL). I miss the sun, and I cannot wait for summer.


So sorry folks that I’ve been MIA.

Last week, we had a transportation strike, and even though we got a speech about how people might throw rocks through the windows, horrible traffic and to pack a water bottle just in case we are stuck in traffice for hours, nothing happened.  It was typical Peruvian freak out, and nothing to actually be freaked out about. Granted, if I had lived through the Shining Path Era, I think I’d freak out at these things too. 

Our roommate has joined us, and she seems to be getting along quite well.  She has started teaching, and has experienced the developing world first hand with 1) The rigamarole of trying to get the carnet process started, 2) the difficulty it is to get books here and 3) waking up to no water in the entire building and having to take a whore’s bath to make it through the day. The dogs, however, seem to have adjusted to her quite well, and tend to be a little sad when she leaves; I found Stray Jones sleeping in her bed this afternoon.

We attempted to get Camote spayed, but much to our chagrin, she has a parasite, something she most likely contracted from a tick before she was in our home.  We have to wait until she is parasite-free and her immune system is back up to par before spaying her.  The other two dogs were tested, and both received a clean bill of health. Woohoo!


I’m back at school after a nice 3-week winter break.  It was well needed, but I am glad to be back on a schedule. I work so much better when I have things to occupy my time.  I am not good at entertaining myself. Now only four more months until summer break! 😉

Oh and as a side note, I have submitted to the head of secondary that I want a classroom pet.  I remember Mr. Hayes in 6th grade had a snake, and I thought it was the best thing ever.  We raised rats to feed it, and we took turns being responsible for cleaning the cage, watering it, etc.  I am thinking that a guinea pig would be a good class pet, and I think it would be an incentive for my 6th graders to work well and behave in class.  What do you think?


The last week of school, we had lots of Fiestas Patrias celebrations.  The elementary kids put on performances from singing to dancing to skits.  It reminded me of the theatre in Lafayette, and I was glad to be able to see it.  Image



Vacation will be a low-key one.  Items on the agenda:

  1. Spay Camote
  2. Get some pants hemmed
  3. Start Bell Training with Camote
  4. Read a couple of books: Perks of Being a Wallflower, Silence of the Lambs and Ms. Peregrine’s School for Unusual Children

And our new roommate will be arriving on Sunday, so I look forward to showing her all kinds of stuff around Lima.  It will be nice to have some time off to get her adjusted before she starts work with Jason. 


Schools in Peru

So I had the chance to explore a school in Pachacmac called Euroamericano. It was just absolutely gorgeous, so I thought I would share some photos.

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