Today was the final day of working with our English students, and the day of our hike. Although all three teaching groups were hiking the same trail at around the same time, we did this in separate groups.
My group (Ariel, Ben, Daniel, Haley) led them through the trail
backwards. We had done a scavenger hunt to review the vocabulary in class the day before, and students were given the same vocabulary lists.
At one point some of them started yelling “Sloth, sloth!”, pointing to a sloth hanging high in the tree. It was gratifying to see them effectively communicate in English something that we as guides hadn’t noticed (and of course the sloths we saw were incredibly cute). Other highlights of the hike for my group included seeing armies of ants carry leaves on their backs and finding a ton of fish by throwing small pieces of cookies into the water.
After the hike we returned to the school in San Isidro and as a
closing activity everyone said their favorite part of hike (mostly
seeing the sloths, other animals, or plants). As students were
leaving one hugged all of us and gave us each a different poem (mine was in Spanish, but everyone else in the group got a Spanish and an English copy since they didn’t speak Spanish fluently). And then all the students left.
The other two groups returned to Centro Espiral Mana after the hike. The group with the youngest kids (Courtney, Mason, Caitlin, Louisa) had the students draw what they had seen on the hike; the students drew so many things they ran out of chalk. The they filled the whiteboard with words for what they and seen, and finally drew pictures and wrote sentences like “I see a sloth”.
The last group (Stefanie, Adeline, Devin, Mike) did an interactive point-based treasure hunt on the hike, which students really enjoyed and got many more points than expected. Afterwards students were interviewed and asked “What did you like about the hike?” Their answers were recorded and made into a video.
Other things happened later that day (we had a reflection activity in the river, we went to La Pechuga and had empanadas at Davy’s, I turned 21, people started working on their final projects, etc.), but none of them was nearly as important as the hike. For me at least, today was about enjoying our last time working with our students, and then relaxing once the teaching part of the internship was over.
12 students from Marlboro College came to our school to teach English to local children and young adults. Their project is to teach "Environmental English" so that at the end of the 8 day course the students can take a hike and talk about nature (in English) and do activities on the trail that help them develop their awareness of tropical river ecology. Our town, San Isidro de Peñas Blancas has created the River walk to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting our area.