Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fun at a Dominican School

First of all let me apologize for my lack of posts in the last few weeks.  I promise I have a good excuse!  Jenelle is still on maternity leave and snuggling that adorable baby of hers, and the hubby and I were out of the country on SPRING BREAK!  Don't worry, we went somewhere warm...the Dominican Republic...and to make it an even more exciting trip, we had NO kids with us!  This is primarily thanks to my parents who so VERY generously watched our two boys (ages 5 and 2) while we were gone.  So the hubs and I got to spend some actual quality time together. A rare occurrence as you other parents out there know.
The building with kids wishing they could join in the classroom.

Now, like many of you teachers, my brain still works in "teacher mode" even while on vacation so I "convinced" my husband that it would be a "fun" day trip to go and visit a Dominican elementary school.  Being the super supportive guy that he is he agreed and off we went onto the back-roads...if you can actually call them "roads"... of the Dominican countryside.

The teacher's desk...
RY poor country with over 70% of the population making only $250 a month per family.  A few years back they had an earthquake that destroyed quite a few buildings and unfortunately the country's infrastructure is not that great.  Things like regular garbage pick-up, plumbing, and electricity are sketchy at best.  Most families live in one or two room shanties and have very little in the way of luxuries.  The school system in the Dominican is a new addition over the last few decades.  In order for children to attend school (which is free) they must own a pencil and a notebook (unfortunately a lot of families cannot afford these basic supplies so their children just don't go to school).  Although it is a very poor country, the people are rich with culture and family values.  I have never met such a fun loving, appreciative, and welcoming group of people in all of my travels.  So needless to say, the Dominican Republic has easily become my most favorite destination and I recommend you give it a try!

Deanna in the classroom...
3rd & 4th Graders...they vary in age depending upon when they started school.  One child was 13 and another was 8 but in the same grade.

So, back to the story...

Knowing that these Dominican kiddos could not attend school without supplies, I packed my suitcase FULL of extras from my classroom and brought them with to the school.  As my husband and I exited the tour bus, we were practically mugged by elementary aged children who couldn't wait to see what treasures we had brought with us.  I have never seen children so excited over notebooks, pencils, and crayons before!  One little girl (about 3rd or 4th grade) hugged me over and over and with tears in her eyes said "thank you...thank you! Now I can go to school!"  All of this over a simple hot pink notebook and number 2 pencil.  My heart just broke as I saw how little the students had...and couldn't imagine how hard it was for that teacher to teach multiple age levels (think "one room schoolhouse") with very little in the way of supplies and resources.  The whole experience really made me appreciate what my students and I are blessed with.  It really put things into perspective for me and I will truly think twice before EVER complaining about anything school related again.
Handing out supplies...
Deanna and her new "students"...
So give your students a hug and look around your classroom...we are so lucky...and sometime we just need a little reminder of that!

Keep on Dancing in Your Teacher Shoes

Deanna and Jenelle

1 comment:

  1. Wow this must have been fascinating visiting a DR school!! Great photos. I just found your blog, love it! I'm your newest follower!

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