Friday, September 3, 2010

First school meeting

Today was the last day of the second week of school and we and the school are finally getting some info. Wednesday when I dropped Alana off I saw a poster up that said Attencion. Thankfully as I was reading it I heard another mom asking about it because it kind of didn't make sense to me. Apparently it was written weird and even those who know spanish well were a little confused. So I listened in on her questions to the director (I guess that's what I should call her)and I got what I could out of it. I then approached the ladies who have sort of "taken me in." They live right on my block and helped me find someone else who lives on our block to make Alanas uniform. Also they are always sure to slow their pace if they know I'm behind them or ask me if we want a ride if they see us walking to school. One of these ladies actually has a daughter in Alanas class so she explained things to me and offered to come by and explain to my husband just to be sure I was not misunderstanding anything. This was a major relief to me. Well she wasn't able to come by and explain things to my husband because she came down with a bug and here is how things played out.
From what I could understand we were to have a junta (meeting) with the teacher on Thursday morning at nine and the kids would be having class that day, and then next Monday the whole kinder would have a junta with the director. Thursdays are a very busy day for my husband and we decided I would go and do my best and hopefully our neighbor could fill him in on everything. I hated the idea and so did Issac but we didn't have much of a choice. Walking to school that morning I was a little nervous but had my pen and paper and was ready to do what I could. But when I showed up the teacher handed me a paper and "reminded" me of the junta tomorrow. Opps I got jueves and viernes confused again, I do this a lot for some reason. But the good thing is that it was no big deal for Issac to switch to evenings for Friday so he could go to the meeting with me. The paper she sent home with me was one to fill out information on Alana. It was all information that we had already filled out for her inscription, and on her first week of school that I gave again to the director. I'm assuming this is the teachers personal copy of the info on each kid. It was simple things like the CURP, ht, wt, domicillo ( address)with this they want to know not only the street you live on and your house number but the streets that you live between also, I find this odd. Anyway also they ask for the parents names and jobs and phone numbers. I also find this interesting considering so far I had not been asked for my phone number. We did give it to them on a piece of paper the first day of school but that was our own idea and was not requested. In a lot of cases I like the laid back style here but in this one I feel it was dangerous for all those kids to be at school for two weeks without any emergency numbers on file. Anyway I came home and filled it out, mainly just to prove to myself I could do it, and because I was annoyed at the fact the teacher specifically told me to have my husband fill it out. I know I should be able to let this stuff go knowing how my spanish isn't great but being the independent person I am it gets to me. So once I had fluffed my ego by filling it out I had Issac check everything on it the next day ( I did good!! lol)
This morning we got there a little before nine and the teacher told us to go on in with Alana. When the bell rang they had only the parents go into the class room and brought the kids out and the teacher had some class time with them during the first part of the morning. I was expecting this to all be a brief overview of what they do in class and a quick vote on if we should buy the materials individually or give the teacher money. Oh boy was I wrong and completely unprepared (we didn't bring diapers for Joslin nor food). I should have known better from reading blogs such as Leslies.

First we sat through about and hour and a half of lecture and questions on proper nutrition. I'm so glad they did this because its one of my pet peeves down here. I'm also glad they did it because it gave me a new perspective on things. I thought people just ate and feed their kids the way they did because well they just dont care or its just the way things are or eating right is just to much of a hassle. But seriously these ladies seemed like it was the first time they were hearing any of this information. I realize I take my education and my quest for learning for granted. What I didn't learn in school I have self taught through many hours of reading. I actually told a few of the ladies I would bring in some healthy recipes because they were talking about how they wanted to try to eat right but didn't know how. They actually asked the nutritionist if they could make it a school project to get recipes together to send home with the kids. So there appeared to be a real interest and this was exciting to me. During my years of nursing, teaching this type of thing was drilled into my head and the importance of jumping when you see the willingness to learn. So I'm ready to jump and I hope I can help in the way I want to be able to. I'm thinking about putting the food guide pyramid on the back of the paper I use to type up the recipes. Most of the women were doing their best to jot it down during the lecture but I could tell they were not quite getting it. I couldn't believe some of the questions that were being asked and how many of the mothers were agreeing that they didn't know these different things. But again I'm just excited to see that they were eager to learn and were listening with interest. During this whole thing the few things I didn't catch Issac was sure to whisper to me and no one seemed to mind.
Next the teacher came back (apparently the class was now watching a movie with another class) and was ready to do her part. I missed a lot of this because due to a wet diaper and a hungry belly and it being nap time poor Joslin was getting a little restless so I was standing outside the door rocking her in the stroller and Issac was standing near enough to explain things to me randomly. Basically the teacher went over that at times she had to be fuerte (strong) with some of the kids if they didn't listen that she intends to not grita or yell at them but that she does sometimes talk strongly to them. I'm thinking well no kidding but some of the moms seemed like they were not sure this should happen and asked to be sure she didn't hit the kids. The teacher explained that she nor any other teacher in the school hits the kids and mothers who had other kids that had been at the kinder a couple years agreed with her. She then talked about the uniforms and dates that we had to have them by, thankfully we have till the 13th because the lady who is making Alanas has not let us know they are ready yet. And of course the debate about materials. Issac and I were all for her taking money up and the teacher buying it all herself. This would insure all the kids had the same stuff and that one person didn't end up supplying for other kids. After her explanation of the same thing and lots of questions everyone agreed on collecting money. The teacher didn't want to be the collector and one mom agreed to do it. So we have to give her 300p before next Friday and the teacher will go to Guad over the weekend and buy all the stuff. Other than that all we have to buy is a clear pencil holder or bag and put Alanas name on it. And finally we got the fun part and talked about the fiesta for Independence. I have to say that getting to be involved in this kind of stuff is one reason I'm so glad Alana is in school. We have missed out on a lot of the culture over the last couple years because we cant ever figure out whats going on. Here is the best part, since hubby was the only dad actually inside the class room (their were two others but they were hanging around the door and in and out the whole time) and he was also a good participant the whole time he got asked to dress up for the party. I'm so excited and for sure you all will see pictures. Seriously my husband is the best man I know, he accepted with a smile and will love doing it. And here comes the worst part. None of the women wanted to dress up and I told Issac I could do it. He proudly said, "Mi esposa puede." And all the women looked at me and were excited. But then the teacher is like, that might not be a good idea. She explained to Issac that there will be a short camio for whoever dresses up. While Issacs explaining this to me the teacher is explaining to the rest of the moms that my Spanish sucks. Ok I know that's not how she put it (shes very nice and works well with me when I do talk with her) and I know the horrific scene of 15-20 moms shaking their heads and doing an "oh ok we see now" face prob wasn't as bad as it seemed... but... well... I have no words. I know this is only the beginning and I'm trying to brace myself but the more I think about it the more I'm getting irritated by it. I'm a doer, I'm involved, I'm active... and damn it I cant be now. As we were picking up Alana from the movie room Issac suggested that Monday I should stay at home with the girls and he could go to the meeting alone. I know what he was thinking was for the girls sake but this hurt. And of course instead of saying anything, I got snippy with him on the way home and just briefly mentioned that the language barrier sucks. Iv since talked to my sister and and I think I need to be at that meeting. I need to feel that I'm doing all I can to understand and be involved even if I have to tote along the girls and ask Issac to explain constantly.
I really cant explain to you how bad it sucks to not be able to jump in and say what I want and be as involved as I want. It may be prego hormones and it may not be but I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. I'm hoping after writing this post and talking some more about it with my husband (poor guy) that I will be able to walk back into the school with a renewed since of confidence on Monday.
I'm starting to feel that my Spanish needs to move to the next level but I'm not sure how to get it there. I do really well with a one on one or two conversation now but if there is more than two people I just cant keep up unless its people who know me well and make sure that I do (like Issacs family). I cant expect people to cater to me forever and I need to step it up... but how?

All in all the meeting went well and we got all the information we needed. I hope I added enough of that in with my sob story for those of you who may be looking to enroll your kids someday. If I left anything out about the school you want to know please ask!!!


  1. Amanda, sweetie, I just want you to know how proud I am of you. You are doing a great job of trying to break the language barrier. As I was reading your post, I actually cheered and clapped when I got to the part of you volunteering to participate in the Independence Day party! :)

    And please don't let those kind of things/remarks discourage you or offend you. I have found that most of the time, they ask your Hubby to attend the meetings or fill out paperwork, not because you're incapable, but because they think it will be easier for you if Isaac does it. Does that make sense?

    This is going to be such an exciting time. You will see that over the next couple of months, you will be making friends with the ladies at the school, Alana's Spanish will improve greatly and so will yours.

    Question...Do you, Isaac and the girls speak Spanish at home? As an ESL teacher, I always suggest to my students that they need to speak the language they are trying to learn for at least an hour a day.

    Hugs to you and your family! :)

  2. Don't worry because you are working at it one day you will realize that you are thinking in Spanish not translating. My mom speaks great English (with an accent but with a college level vocabulary) because she would read in English, when she came to a word she didn't understand, she'd look it up (in an English language dictionary) and if she didn't understand a word in the definition she'd look that up. It's hard work but you are up to it. I can tell.
    As for the cross streets thing. House numbers are not necessarily in numerical order so Calle 51 #5 may be between #12 and #30 because those houses were built afterwards on lots that have been split. So you put the cross streets to narrow it down. Merida (or at least the older part) is built on a grid. You don't want to have to travel from one end of say Calle 60 (about a 2 hour walk) looking for a house, when you only need to look between say Calle 49 y Calle 51 (evens go north/south, odds go east/west with every other street going one way in a different direction).
    By the way, the website for the food pyramid has lots of information in Spanish so that will help you out!!
    Keep the faith, just keep plugging along.

    oh, try to listen to the whole sentence when people are speaking instead of concentrating on each word so you don't get bogged down. It's been my experience that in meetings stuff gets repeated a lot, so eventually you will catch on.


  3. have you thought about getting a conversation partner? i also try to read the spanish subtitles on the english shows i watch because it's sort of an automatic translation and an easy way to learn vocabulary since i'm just sitting back and watching TV. yesterday i learned from subtitles that a roller coaster is called "montaña rusa" -- a russian mountain!

  4. Leslie- Your words always help to make me feel better. For the most part Im doing well with all of it now. And to be honest if I were not prego then I may take it all a little better
    Theresa I have been taking that advise and reading the magazine the president had delivered to all the houses about Mexican history.
    Alice- I didnt really think about the conversation partner but I have had a friend who has been coming over more often and its helping a lot.