When I last wrote I was just in my orientation and helping out with a casa (house) of a few girls. A new group of créditos arrived on the 9th, which means that these high school students are here for a month and are able to receive a year of high school Spanish credit. They take more intensive, structured classes while they’re here, while the aldeanos in the two-week program have more informal culture and language classes.
I am teaching the Principiantes (beginners) group – I have five students in my class, and their experience with Spanish varies. I am really starting to get better at differentiation and am eager to see how these skills transfer over to my job as a high school Spanish teacher in the fall.
Classes and content aside, being away from home for a month is a challenge for aldeanos who are 14-17! To be honest, I’ve been able to grow a lot in my capacity as a counselor this past week as a few of my girls are struggling with some pretty bad homesickness. The good thing is that I have also experienced homesickness, when I studied abroad through Marquette en Madrid, so I can relate to the feelings they are having.
The counselors here are so supportive of one another, and we are working to find more activities that interest these girls particularly to make them feel like Lago del Bosque is their “place.” One counselor is spending recreo (free time/recess) playing guitar with one of the girls and I can see that their time together is helping. Another one of my girls is spending time with some counselors drawing and painting in the sala de arte. Finding things that are enjoyable across languages has definitely been a key component to helping these girls overcome homesickness.
Dealing with the emotions of seven high school girls who live with me is difficult, because sometimes I feel like I don’t even have time to deal with my own emotions! Luckily I am living with another counselor/credit teacher and we’ve been getting along great and really working as a team. I am learning so much about how to teach Spanish, immersion methodology, how to connect with high school students, and the idea of cura personalis is always in the back of my mind – care for the whole person.
To learn more about what’s going on at El Lago del Bosque, check out the blog!