31 Aug Santo Domingo de Onzole, Ecuador: Gaston Figueira School
Written by Lucía Dávila, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Every day before school starts, the teachers of the Gaston Figueira School have a quick meeting at around 7:00 a.m. with the principal. Classes begin at 7:30, and by that time the teachers are ready to greet their students and welcome them to their “second home.”
The students’ excitement announces their morning arrival, as their laughs echo in the halls before the classrooms fill up. Every morning they line up in front of the school by grade and gender. Once each week on Mondays, they do a pledge of allegiance and stretches.
The schedule of the students is different from day to day, but their teachers make sure they receive math, reading, writing, social studies, and science classes every day. They also have specialty classes like music, art, and physical education.
Recess time is from 10:05 to 10:45, and the students certainly know how to take full advantage of those
40 minutes. Some of the kids play around with their friends, while others go home. Some choose to get ready for gym class and others buy snacks that people sell outside their home in the community.
Teachers, on the other hand, take time during recess to work on classroom tasks, such as planning a lesson or marking homework. Sometimes, they do get to enjoy recess as a group. They hang out at a nearby house and share a nice time among their colleagues.
Electricity is not a sure thing at the Onzole Community, and an electronic school bell is sometimes not an option. The teachers, therefore, need to be creative in announcing the end of the class. The kindergarten teacher, for example, dismisses class to the beat of a large drum.
Finally, school finishes at 12:45. The students say goodbye to their friends and teachers while making future plans, waving adiós, and being hopeful for a new school day tomorrow.