Time for Verano!

Buenos dias mi gente chismosa! I cannot believe how fast this school year has passed! Viva las vacaciones jajaja. If you’re like me, I looooove verano (summer) and cannot wait to enjoy the time “off”. Bueno, it’s not exactly time “off” como mama you’re never really “off”, pero being en la casa with mi familia is lo mejor! As we wind down en la escuela, I’m preparing various things to celebrate and reflect on the year we’ve had, and look forward to what’s to come! Since the end is near, vamos a chismear on that Maestra vida. Tengo mis Tostitos de Limon, they’re the closest thing I can find to Sabritas (Lay’s) Limon flavor aqui en Canada, so I’ll take it! Vamonos!

Living that Maestra vida is hard work, even at the end of the year. Ya se, how hard can it be, don’t you just play all day? NOPE. June is SO busy. Ahora, if we were talking about March or even May, te diria that yeah, it slows down at some point when you’re just cruising through your material. Pero, June is another story. It’s such a fun month, porque you’re finishing up units and you know you will have some pockets of more free time to really enjoy with tus estudiantes. Pero igual, we have Report Cards due, events upon events, retirement celebrations, finishing covering material and already planning ahead for next year. Ademas, the weather starts getting nice and your familia vida gets pretty hectic too!

Report Cards aren’t everybody’s favorite task to being a maestra, pero para mi, I love them. Tal vez it’s because I enjoy writing, I want to share everything we did this year, y como mama I want mis estudiantes parents to recognize that I really did get to know their chamaco and that I care for them as much as my own. Hoy, I began writing out these personalized end of the year awards for mis estudiantes, y me hizo pensar about how every chamaco brings something different, but equally as special, to our classroom. Chamacos are such interesting little beings, perhaps porque we don’t really know what they’re thinking, pero we see them go through all these motions and complete tasks, take on creative projects, build relationships with others and really grow into their own person. Y en mi caso, also learn a whole new language together.   

Report Cards is also a time to reflect on everything we learned, worked on, and accomplished this year. Esto tambien allows me to evaluate myself as a Maestra and see what went well, what didn’t, what I can improve on, what I do really well, y ajustarme for the next year. Nadie becomes a Maestra when they’re a perfect Maestra, sino we wouldn’t have any. We’re continuously learning as we go, and with new estudiantes every year, we learn to adapt and adjust all over again.  

Los eventos are so much fun! En mi escuela, we have a familia BBQ night, a Play Day, a Fire Fighter water spray afternoon, y cualquier other events you choose to organise for your own class. Mi preferido evento would have to be the familia BBQ. It’s so nice to catch up and spend time with mis estudiantes and their familias in a more relaxed, real life interaction. Aunque some try to turn it into an interview about their chamaco jajaja, I can’t blame them, I’d want to know everything tambien.

Lo mejor de esto is that we get to see the familias interact in a more personal way and really get to know one another. Para mi, my ears are always open and listening for Spanish speaking familias, although I know most of them en mi escuela porque I translate for them, you never know who else has some Espanol going on! This year, I was able to introduce 3 Latina Familias to each other and they hit it off! Exchanging numeros, Feisbooks (Facebook) y haciendo planes to get together again soon. This has to be a top 3 fav for being a Maestra, is bringing el barrio together. Especialmente los Latinos porque there aren’t that many here in Markham. Espero that they call me and mi familia out too! Jajaja, no lie, that’s for real. Call me!!! Jajaja.

Un evento that I do in my own classroom is a drama presentation and awards ceremony. Mis estudiantes have been working very hard on a drama presentation, Les 3 petits cochons (the 3 little pigs) pero it’s a remixed version. Super cute y por supuesto in French! We’ve made props and accessories for our presentation, y tambien we’ve invited their familias to join us for the afternoon. I also use this time to thank their familias for all their support, dedication and encouragement during the school year, and I present mis estudiantes with an award for something they consistently represented throughout the school year. I bring esnacks (obviamente) and juice boxes for everyone to stick around and spend time together before we part for el verano. Familias are encouraged and welcome to take pictures and videos, pero are reminded to not post them on any social media unless they have permission from those visible in their images.

Me gusta planear and host this small event for my class porque despues de kindergarten, they don’t have another end of the year celebration with their familias included until they graduate from grade 8. Ademas, being it’s their first year in French Immersion, and they’ve learned a whole new language, it definitely merits a recognition and celebration. I also like the opportunity to agradecer las familias and thank them for working with me and trusting me with their chamacos. Ahora que soy mama, I think this is a big one. Grade 1 French Immersion is really a leap of faith, a first step towards an exciting journey and a commitment to many nights of google translate. Jajaja. I see you familias!!

Normalmente, I like to bring my class to the Toronto Zoo for a field trip in early June. This year, a colleague let me in on a bomb secreto: plan a field trip the last week of escuela porque nobody else does and it’s so quiet and chill! Genial! Asi que, we are going to the Toronto Science Centre during the last week of escuela, y espero nobody else picked up this tip yet jajaja As for next year, pues if it’s full… perdoname! jajaja. Letting out all the secretos! Pero que esperabas?! It’s el chisme spot, claro that we’re gonna spread el chisme here.

Por los ultimos dias de la escuela, I am keeping it extra chill. No por huevona, jajaja sino, that way I can also spend the last few days enjoying time con mis estudiantes. They won’t be my estudiantes ever again, I’ve taught them all that I can for this year y espero that they had as much fun as I did. Entonces, I have a movie afternoon planned with some palomitas jeje claro, los esnacks jajaja. Some park play, as long as the weather is nice y tambien some fun activities and games to pass time juntos antes que we say “hasta luego!”

Speaking of Hasta Luegos, the retirement parties are always so bittersweet. Nunca iba to these celebrations porque I didn’t feel as close to previous colleagues retiring. Pero this year we have had a couple, incluyendo our Directora (principal). I never really knew what to expect at these events, pero now that I have attended puedo decir that they are beautiful. All the staff, familias, colleagues, amigos y estudiantes come together to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments that the Maestr@ experienced throughout their career. Como un trip down memory lane, which is always filled with emotion and orgullo.

Quisiera que we celebrated Maestros more often in this kind of way. Creo que we do so much for our estudiantes, our escuela, our comunidad y creo que that should be recognized and appreciated in a more celebratory way. Porque esperar until we retire? En Mexico when it’s Dia de los Maestros (National Teacher’s Day), las escuelas celebrate in a HUGE way! There’s fiestas, parades, gifts, performances and presentations put on by los estudiantes y la comunidad to celebrate los Maestros.This is done annually and by las familias y la comunidad. It also helps unite and strengthen the bond between la casa y la escuela. There is a sense of respect and appreciation between los dos, as they are working together to guide, raise and teach our chamacos, the next generation to come.

Finishing up material can be a tricky one. Jajaja, Creo que it depends on how your year has gone so far and what kind of group of estudiantes you have. This year, por primera vez, I have finished my units on time! In 6 years of teaching, es mi primera vez jajaja. What was different this year? Pues solo tenia 14 estudiantes. That’s right, only 14 estudiantes en my class this year. AH-MAY-ZIIIIING. No creo que it will ever happen again, so I enjoyed it to the fullest and took advantage to work more directly with each of them. Normalmente, I am rushing in June to get through all the material, and doubling up on Math and Language units, while doing Report Cards all at once. Es una locura. Asi que, this June has been very manageable in terms of Teaching time.

This allows me to get ahead on preparing things for next year! Nunca se acaba. While we wind down from one school year, we’re getting ready for the next. As a Primary Divisional Lead, a role I took on this year, tengo que organisar and order our materials and supplies for next year. All the crayons, notebooks, folders, pens, markers, paints, y todo you can think of needing! We will need it all. Ademas, we have to pack up our classrooms so they can be cleaned over el verano and come back in Agosto to set it all back up again. Creo this time I will do a different and new classroom set up. Ojala I will have more time this verano to get things ready in a fresh and fun way.   

El proximo school year will be a very different school year para mi famiila. Aparte of not knowing where mi esposo will be teaching, as it changes every year, our not-so-little Javi will be starting escuela tambien! We have enrolled him at mi escuela so that he can come and go with me, and we won’t have to pay for a morning and after escuela program at his home escuela. Ya se que he is ready and will really enjoy being at school, pero it is still so bittersweet jajaja.

Algunos have inquired and asked how it will be having Javi en mi escuela. La verdad, I don’t mind it at all, por ahora. Creo it will just be financially efficient and a good setup for our familia.  Cuando Javi will start Grade One, we will consider him going to his home school for the French Immersion program porque I wouldn’t want to be his Maestra. I’d prefer to keep my role as his mama, and not mix the mama/maestra roles. Ademas, queremos que Javi tenga his own independence at school like any other chamaco would. Tambien, I want to continue to be actively involved with his educational journey, y creo seria harder to do if we were at the same escuela. Pero igual, it’s still early and we will see how it unfolds and we can always reconsider when the time comes.

Vacaciones!! We’re 2 semanas away from the last day of escuela, and I cannot wait! Todos necesitamos a break from our everyday routine of work, casa, work, casa. Este verano we have some big plans! I will be taking an Additional Qualification Course to obtain my Religion Part 2. It’s only for 2 semanas, and it is subsidized as I am a permanent Maestra, so how could I not? Esto will help me later on when I’d like to pursue other career options and advancements. Tambien, Javi is registered for a Spanish class! It’s a program offered through our escuela board called International Languages y es a program for estudiantes who would like to learn and maintain their heritage and culture through language. It’s a phenomenal program and it only costs $20!!! Siiiiii, only 20$! Unreal verdad? It runs de Lunes a Viernes for 3 semanas, during the mornings. This will help us keep some routine, pero leave some time to have spontaneous fun as well.

Tambien tenemos planes to do a roadtrip to some favorite spots across the border, y visitar familia y amigos. Mi esposo will be continuing his private Jiu Jitsu lessons in our home gym, y empiezara a Parent & Tot program that we are so excited to start! I will have to keep you posted on that as well. As for Mireya, we’re going to attempt a dropoff program with her, para que tenga mas amiguitos and can have an activity to do too. We tried one earlier this year, pero she wasn’t ready, and the way this particular location ran the program wasn’t a good fit for us. Ojala que nos vaya bien. I’ll let you know jaja.

Happy end of the escuela year to all my fellow Maestr@s!! Goodluck with your report cards, enjoy these last couple of weeks and I wish you all the best Summer break yet! Nos vemos in the fall!

*Pic from Rifle Paper Co.

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