A Synergistic Situation: Teaching Online and Nicaragua

I love to rock a kid’s world. One of my favorite moments was when Kelsey, who was in 8th grade four years ago, looked at me and said, “I think you just made my head explode.” She then emphatically explained that she just understood something “really, really big.” Sure enough, she did! We were talking about cultural privilege and the conversations that we had that week made it really clear that she knew what was going on.

She was learning something important, and my work as a teacher felt beautiful, important and almost sacred. It felt like a new world was possible and Kelsey was going to make it happen. In fact, Kelsey was already making it happen and continues to now.

Ah, the moments a teacher lives for! We are always looking for ways to create this moment for more students.

Nicaragua, anyone? I am teaching about different cultures and dreading the long cold winter in the frozen tundra of Western Massachusetts. I need some inspiration if I am going to create magic for anyone.  Even more than inspiration, I need to not be cold. With WizIQ, I can take my students with me, anywhere. If the only place that I can afford happens to be tropical and delightful, all the better! I can leave New England during its bitterest month, while still working. We will engage in our regular curriculum, as well as explore another country. The trip might even count as a business expense.

My daughter and I will be able to improve our Spanish. While I have taught Spanish casually for years, I will be in a better position to teach Spanish as part of my home-school next year.

The trip will give me the fortitude to power through the winter and continue to be a bright and cheerful person. If I am a bright and cheerful person, I create better curriculum for my students and better experiences for my kid. I am a more thoughtful friend, elegant dresser and on-tune hummer. I am more likely to remember my password to pay the electric bill and be tolerant when managing young children. In fact, I am quite certain that even the taste of my mulled wine is enhanced by my good humor.

Details: We found a language school with a mission that is in-line with my values and has a decent internet connection. It is called Casa Xalteva and it is in Granada. It runs Spanish classes for foreign students to fund the work that it does for Nicaraguan people. While I am there, I will likely be able to tutor Nicaraguan women in English.

We are heading to the doctor. I didn’t realize just how many diseases that you need to be prepared for before visiting Nicaragua (typhoid, malaria, and hepatitis, in case you were wondering). We are definitely game to eat anything, but I am going to pack some crackers and malaria medicine, just in case.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of Maria, who will help take care of my daughter. She also has a little daughter. Ideally, the children will play, under the care of Maria, while I prepare lessons and correct papers for my online students. The internet is a marvelous place. I can sit in a corner of Western Massachusetts  and research a babysitter in Nicaragua. Then I will sit in a café in Nicaragua and teach my students in Western Massachusetts.

I am so excited.

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I am a teacher, hiker, mother, dancer and home-maker. I have taught pre-school through SAT prep. I am exploring ways to create on-line learning communities for home-schooled middle school and high school students. In particular, I am starting a low-residency on-line middle school. I would like to help young people explore important ideas while enjoying their lives! You can learn more about my programs at www.onlineclassesforgroovykids.org.

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