A Day at the William Botnan School: T2T-I Team

Written by Lucía Dávila, Guatemala City, Guatemala


When our T2T-I team arrived in Santa Avelina, Quiché,
the local teachers and children were already waiting for us. Although we’d
spent five hours riding a bus, our first task was to say hello to everyone and
hold a quick meeting to introduce our Guatemalan staff and ourselves.

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Once the local teachers and the children left for the
evening, the “classroom” assignments were given, and the team started to settle
down. Each classroom held cots, which became the team’s dreamy beds for the
entire week.

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Every morning just after waking up, our team rearranged
the classrooms and to have them ready by 7:00 a.m.

– We placed our belongings out of the way.

– We piled the cots up somewhere they wouldn´t become an
obstacle.

Classes officially started at
7:30, but sometimes the children arrived a little bit earlier because of the
excitement of having us there.

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Each of us had breakfast every morning in the kitchen on
the second floor of the school, where we prepared our own meals from a range of
yummy options like eggs, yogurts, coffee, etc.

The team held a brief orientation meeting each morning
after breakfast but before the kids arrived, discussing the activities of the
day.

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Next up: welcoming the students! We were excited to
see their smiling faces each morning.

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Depending on the day, we did different activities:

Monday

Observation: T2T
teachers spent the day inside the classrooms to observe the local teachers, the
students, and how the lessons were conducted. The team laid the foundations for
a creating a trusting relationship with the local teachers, attempting to
discern the local teachers’ needs.

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Tuesday

Lead the class or
co-teach: T2T teachers led or co-taught the class based on (1) what they
observed the first day and (2) what was discussed during the one-on-one meeting
the previous day with their local partner teacher.

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Wednesday

Co-teach or let the local teacher
lead the lesson:  T2T teachers assisted
their local partner teacher with the lesson they both planned during the previous
one-on-one meeting.  

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Thursday

Each
participant-partner pairing had different loose ends to tie up. We were
available to answer any remaining questions and to celebrate the success of
previous days. We had very brief individual meetings to wrap up the week and
plan for maintaining contact in the future. Our final excursion was to
hike to the stunning waterfall nearby and take a group picture.

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On most days, the team had the entire morning to
prepare for math class at 10:30 a.m.

Once the students left at
12:30 p.m., we ate lunch with the local teachers all together on the second
floor of the school. These delicious meals were always traditional Guatemalan
food, such as chicken, rice, beans, and soup, cooked by ladies of the village
who volunteered to prepare them.  

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After lunch, we held 90-minute
professional development sessions with the local teachers, as well as math
workshops, to address their expressed needs.

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Then
our team had from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. for one-on-one meetings focusing on (1) how the
local partner teacher and his/her
students experienced the day’s lesson and (2) what elements of it should be
integrated into the classroom.

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The local teachers left
at 4:00 p.m., which gave the team time to relax, enjoy, and explore Santa
Avelina.

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Just
as at lunch, dinner is on the second floor of the school at 7:00 p.m., cooked
by the generous ladies from the village. Sometimes we like to help and cook
together some Boxboles (traditional Mayan dish made of a starchy dough, usually made with corn, wrapped in a squash leaf, and served with tomato sauce or chile)! 

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After
dinner, the team held brief meetings to reflect about what happened during the
day and to answer some questions like: What did or did not go as well as you’d
hoped? How will this knowledge affect you tomorrow?

At
the end of the day, the team was free to play games, relax, rest, and go to
bed.

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