The final days in Panama have been great. I feel like I am finally getting into the groove of things, I wish I could stay longer. My teacher has taught me so much and the school itself has been very welcoming. The school climate is a lot different than the schools I have been at in the United States. The teachers at the school collaborate with each other a lot more than what I have seen in the United States. For example, the second grade teachers at the school collaborate every day during their breaks to decide what they are doing for the rest of the week as a team. In the United States I have not seen as much collaboration, instead I have seen unhealthy competition between teachers. I hope to create a collaborative environment at my future school.
Our last weekend in Panama was spent at a beach house. The beach house was awesome. There were hammocks you could lounge in and the ocean was super close. On the first day we got there I went straight to the ocean to go boogie boarding. The waves were the perfect size. We also got to eat amazing food and hang out on the beach. It was the perfect way to end our stay in Panama. I am sad to head back to the United States, but it makes me look forward to the next time I visit Panama.
It was another great week in Panama. I am learning so much from co-teacher. Before this experience I have taught most of my lessons in a special education setting. So teaching in a general education setting is a whole new experience for me. One major difference for me is the amount of students in the classroom, the most students I have taught at one time is 15 and the classroom I am in here has 22. I know classrooms have more than 22, but it is great practice for me. I plan on using what I learn when I am back in the United States.
This weekend in was also fun. On Saturday we had the Dragon Festival. This is the schools festival for the students. There are games, food, and rides. The students have a great time and the parents get to socialize with each other. I volunteered and sold tickets, I got to meet a lot of the student’s in my class parents. On Sunday we went to a group of islands called San Blas. It was amazing, it almost looks fake because of how perfect it is. We stopped at three different places and each one was unique in its own way. My favorite was the last island where I got to relax on the beach. Overall it was another great week in Panama and I am sad that I am in the home stretch of trip.
My first week in the schools was awesome. The teacher I am assigned to is an amazing teacher. She is great with the students, you can really tell she cares about her students. She also does a great job of engaging the students by being animated when she teaches. I really enjoy here morning routine with the students that also includes a dance that all the students love to do. Since the students are very engaged she does not need to use as many classroom management strategies. One of the strategies she does use is call and response. For example, if she says an important point in class she will ask the class, “got it” and the students respond “got it” back. She also uses preventative strategies that help keep students on task. She does this by breaking down tasks into smaller steps, so that everyone understands and can succeed. For example, when walking in the hallways they stop at different checkpoints and regroup. Overall it was a great first week with my new teacher. I learned a lot about different engagement techniques and I am excited to learn more this week.
My first weekend in Panama was amazing. It went by so fast because our days were filled with so many different activities. On Thursday evening we arrived in Panama. On Friday we hit the ground running and went to see the Panama Canal. This was amazing to see in person I cannot put into words how big it was. After we were done at the Canal we went on a tour of Panama in a trolley. This was an awesome ride. The tour guide allowed us to sit in the open air part of the trolley, which added another level to the experience. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Panama City sky line, the different architecture is incredible to look at. My favorite stop of the tour was when we stopped at a place called the old city, this place had a lot of beautiful churches and architecture. On Saturday we went scuba diving and snorkeling. I am a huge fan of the beach and ocean, so getting to spend the entire day there was amazing. We got to see different fish and coral. The water was a little colder than I expected, but still was worth jumping into. On Sunday we went to a place called Gamboa Resort. This was a beautiful resort where we got to go hiking and kayaking. My favorite part of the day was kayaking, we had the opportunity to see animals that I had never seen before. This was a great first weekend in Panama and I am excited to start student teaching on Monday.