December 6, 2012
I am coming up on my last week at Maria Lugia. While it has been frustrating at times to deal with the language barrier or adjust to the differences in school culture, overall it has been an eye opening experience. I have never been in a classroom where I was of the cultural minority or where people were not conforming to the US culture. I said in my first post I was immediately made aware of what that feeling is like and that feeling continued to develop, in a positive way if you can see it like that. It just made me much more aware to people’s needs when then are thrown into a setting very different than what they are used to.
The most similar thing I noticed between this school and schools in the US is that kids will act like kids no matter where they are. Even though I could not always understand their conversation or know what was going on, there is something that can be known by their facial expressions, actions, and reactions. They may be taught or disciplined in different ways, but in the end kids are kids. Another thing was the classroom setup itself. Students had their own desk, like they often do in middle school, with the chalkboard and projector screen in the front of the room and posters or projects hung up around the room.
The main differences I noticed between this school and schools I have been in pre pracs at in the past I think could be found even among different American schools. The school day times were different, as they are in many schools across the country. And the way the teacher switched from classroom to classroom was different than in my middle school where students switched from classroom to classroom, not necessarily with the same students. But I suppose these differences could also be found across the country. The main cultural difference was definitely in the teachers’ attitude and ease that they went through the school day. They were not worried about MCAS type tests, they did not teach anything to a test. Everything was much more relaxed, but I still cannot decide if it was a good thing or if they could benefit from a little more structure and balance.