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This day has been sponsored by : Alex & Nicole

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Week 3 Day 2 - "Placements"

If you have been checking this calendar consistently, you probably wondered, why I have been at a different placement every day for the last six days. Today I thought I'd put the pieces of the puzzle together for you...

On the picture I have marked with a red cross the placements where I have already been and with a green cross the placements where I will potentially go within the next two months.

My "main" placement is the Hogarcito. I have been there every day during my first week, and while I am at other placements during the morning, I sometimes go to the Hogarcito in the afternoon. However, I was curious about other placements and asked, if I could get to know one from each "category". Fanny reacted very promptly to my request, and the reason she put me in two schools is because of the big discrepancies between both. Though there is currently no cross with the Community Homes, I might get to know one of them... but I don't know which one, yet.

As you can see in the picture, about half the placements are in Elementary Schools. The school year ends before christmas here, and the new school year begins in February. Many other placements, like the elderly day care, the special education centers, day cares etc. will also close. So, instead of getting to know other placements one at a time, e.g. once a week, spread over the 12 weeks I am here, it had all to be concentrated before the beginning of the long vacation.The women's group will only close over christmas and the "orphanage" for adolescents will stay open all them time... hence the green cross.

Today I went to the Escuela San Martín in the morning. I worked with Yogi. To my surprise, she assigned me six of her students between 1st and 3rd grade for individual oral exams in English: Allan, Samuel, Heishon, Eric, Deyber, and Roberto. It was tough for me to judge their knowledge without any benchmarks. I was supposed to fill out a sheet and mark their performance in six categories (e.g. vocabulary, fluency, grammar). Yogi then calculated the final grade from that. She briefly explained to me about the scope of the test. Though half the students were very weak, I would have felt guilty to let anybody fail the exam... after all, this was their year end test! Eric was clearly the star of the group. Allan's mom is a teacher herself (and used to be Yogi's teacher when she was in school) and hence it was assumed that he'd perform well... I'd say he was "ok". Roberto gave the most entertaining performance. He is a bit chubby and looks like a little geek with his glasses and short haircut. When he came in I said "Hello, my name is Sabine. What is your name?" He freaked and looked accusingly at Yogi and said in Spanish: "Oh nononono... that's not fair, I was supposed to study animals and clothing." Another time, I said something, and his facial expression changed; bent his head and looked at me and said incredulous: "Ha! Usted habla español!?!" ("Ha! You speak Spanish?!?"). To his credit I must say that he was very well prepared for the things he had studied... but he had not covered all the subjects he was supposed to study. He blamed his mom for this misunderstanding.

In the afternoon, I went to the Hogarcito and did Estimulación (Stimulation exercises) with Nanci. The psycologist has a folder for each of the children between 5 and 10. The exercises address 5 or 6 different categories. Some exercises are about colours and shapes, others about logic; eventually they are about writing numbers and letters. In addition to the content, there is also a focus on "ergonomics": correct posture and holding of the pencil.


For today's sponsors

Alex, your aunt Nic sponsored this day in your name. It is probably hard to put into context, if you only read today's note, but I hope that perhaps you might find it interesting to look at other days in the calendar, see the pictures and read about my experience here in Costa Rica. If you have any questions, you can find me on MSN Messenger.