Things were a lot more advanced at the high school level. Saw a class about the Golden Age of Spanish poetry and prose, featuring Lope de Vega, Cervantes, and Francisco de Quevedo. Observed students compare Baroque and Renaissance literature, analyze hidden messages in "El Quijote", and unpack complex sentences.
Also participated in a class that taught students how to effectively use context clues -a very fun lesson where the teacher was using humor to get students motivated and help them take risks with inferring meaning from context.
12th grade class was learning about syntax and sentence structure. And although that was way over my head, I learned a lot! I also learned a ton in a grammar class where the teacher was explaining how a verb can have a function of a subject in a sentence. I loved her approach to use analogies to explain grammar concepts. Kudos!
I don't like how official this sounds - "teacher interviews." I simply sat down with many teachers to exchange ideas and talk shop.
For example, I sat down with a philosophy teacher, and she shared a wonderful strategy called "El Horizonte de Asociación." Picture a piece of paper, divided into three parts: one part is content, the second part is students' "internal" work (drawings, mind maps, synonyms, questions, etc.), and a third part is bringing it all together by association, so student reflection and conclusions. I can totally use something like this as a "pre-assessment" strategy.
The cafeteria was THE place to catch teachers relaxed and willing to talk. And not just talk about the project. We talked about our families, work, obstacles all teachers face, our dreams, aspirations, and even recipes. We exchanged curriculum ideas, lamented the lack of time in teaching, and bonded over student stories.
These two weeks were tremendously inspiring both from my project and personal connection perspective. Any educator should have this type of opportunity to observe and collaborate with her international colleagues. i consider myself very lucky to have been able to visit a school like Villa Maria Academy.
I want to thank the teachers of Villa Maria Academy for welcoming me into their school and going out of their way to make me feel comfortable. Special thanks to Anita Tomassinni, principal, and Margarita Willumsen and Paloma Prat Valenzuela, department chairs. They are the ones that created observation schedules for me, and that made things so much easier.