Today we got to sleep in… till 5am! We ate breakfast in the hostal and surprisingly we didn’t eat gallo pinto. Then the groups split up. Half the group went to private school and half the group went to public. I (Maddie) went to public school, which was INEP. It was extremely different to the United States, where the students seemed too unorganized due to lack of being attentive. Other than that, it was an amazing experience because all the students we met in classes were nice. It was cool to learn math in Spanish, while still understanding the curriculum.
Today I (Morgan) went to shadow a student at a private school. Walking into the school I didn’t know what to expect. It was very different than I thought it would be. Most of the students spoke English so well I was impressed. Today I realized that I take what I learn at my public school for granted. All of the students were so nice and friendly as soon as I walked into the school. The students later told me that they travel two hours every Saturday just to take an English class for fun. At school I complain everyday when I have to go to Spanish class but these students who speak Spanish are so intrigued in learning English and go out of their way just to learn it. I should now be more grateful for the opportunities that I have and look at things with a positive perspective.
After returning to the hostal to have another meal (that, as expected, consisted of rice), we had a guest speaker. His name was Juan Carlos and he is an English teacher at the private school some of us went to. He explained to us not only how the education system in Nicaragua works, but also how it has changed since he was a student at school. One of the most significant changes seemed to be how punishment has changed throughout school systems. Students here were once punished with small acts of pain and being put into a corner to now having barely any punishment at all. In contrast, a large difference between school systems in Nicaragua vs. the United States is that public school teachers are actually paid more than private school teachers in Nicaragua. It seems so reversed, but to their society it is a norm.
Later in the day, we had some free time and half of us took naps while the other half went to Yum Yum (our new favorite bakery). Soon after we had dinner and then went straight to English tutoring. We did the usual and taught new vocabulary and grammar to our students. To make the long day even more memorable… the “Cow Poop Squad” got to clean out our buckets with our shoes in it. We were all gagging and crying at the smell but remember we came here to be “leaders” so we had to suck it up and soon use these buckets to shower for our day tomorrow: “Living like a Local”.