I Committed Gecko-slaughter!!!

WARNING: This post is not for the queasy stomach.

A sad discovery I made this week... a squashed gecko on my door frame. I'm pretty sure the death was my fault... but because I didn't know what I had done until I find the corpse until at least a week after the accident, would it be considered gecko-slaughter instead of homicide??
Do you see the little guy on the door frame?

and the gross close up.

Come to think of it, I haven´t seen our ''pet'' gecko around the kitchen... did I kill him??


Adventures while Commuting

The past 3.5 weeks have been eye-opening for me as I join the commutin workforces of the world. I now travel from one side of the city to the other every morning and every afternoon. Thankfully, I don´t have to travel by bus every day because I found some carpooling pals. We have seen and heard some strange things throughout the last few weeks... and the stories are just beginning.

For example, during the first week, there was soap spilled in the street. Add that with the rain pouring down (literally buckets of rain) and that makes for a slippery highway... so slippery that a motorcycle lost control right in from of our car and Caro hit the brakes so fast that all our seatbelts locked and we skidded to a stop 2 feet before hitting the man who had fallen off his moto. YIKES

Or when it starts to rain all of a sudden, and the motorcyclists all stop on the side of the road and are desperately pulling their rain gear over their heads. This is something I want to capture as a photo... but haven´t yet.

Just a couple days ago, I saw another motorcyclist rope himself to the back of a dump truck. TO THE BACK. I was thinking, ''Is he seriously going to ride behind it that way?'' and then the dump truck started going down the street, pulling the moto behind him... UM safety anyone?

But beyond motorcycles, there are also other stories. Like the man pushing his legless friend in a wheelchair across the train tracks... with a train coming full speed!!! I had a heart attack watching them desperately try to get the wheels over the tracks... thank goodness they made it. It stressed them out so much (not to mention the train engineer!) that they had to stop for a cigarette break about 3 feet away from the train still racing by.

Then there´s the man that´s always selling pens for 20 cents each in Hatillo. He´s there every day, rain or shine. I bought 3 pens one day just because he´s so diligent in being ''to work'' on time to meet us every morning and every afternoon. He has a really funny umbrella too... with the Energizer Bunny and rainbows, lol.

hmm... what other stories do we have?

Riding the Bus

Take these factors into account:

rainy cold winter
tropical humidity
dripping umbrellas
body odor
wet dog smell
closed windows... because it´s raining outside
no personal space
the smell of greasy fast food... that someone is eating next to you

and that is what riding the bus is like at rush hour in a tropical climate in the rainy season... enough said.


5th Grade Reviews

It's Friday!!! I´m ready for (what I think is) a well-deserved break this evening after a challenging first week of school. It has been a good first week, normal by many standards, but first weeks are always challenging to establish expectations. So this afternoon I gave my students a ''quiz'' and they had to describe themselves and then describe our class. Here´s some responses I got about their opinions of this week:

I think is splendid.

warm and peaceful


I most times like Ms. Siscoes class

I like the different things you do.

I like you and you class it need to be more clean.

Funny, And happy.

Ms. Siscoe is PURA VIDA

I think is very cool and you are very cool.

be fun we would learn a lot (I initially read this one as ''be fun we will learn a lot'' but then realized maybe the student is trying to say I'm not fun?)

I think it is good and I understand you.

I think is super and verry funny Miss Disco's class


and the only semi-bad review:

It's funny and sometimes boring.

Not too bad after a week of giving 8 detentions, making 6 boys do pushups and jumping jacks at recess (today), pounding on students' desks when they were falling asleep, (yes, I admit it) yelling, catching a student lying and sending him to the principal, investigating whether a student had cheated on their homework, having multiple class meetings on what it means to be respectful vs. disrespectful, checking students for lice, and making students come inside after recess (what!!! what a foreign idea!).

''Warm and peaceful.'' Really?? :)


Class Meetings

In my research about how to start off the school year successfully, I read a book ''Positive Discipline.'' What a teacher I sound like right now! Oh wait, I am, haha. In the book, it describes giving students more ownership of the classroom by including them as equals on the conversation for establishing routines and procedures instead of just mandating all rules and regulations from adult to child. So my experiment begins this week...

Today's discussion was a hot topic for 5th graders: Can we go to the bathroom during class time? I shared my concern as a teacher that we waste valuable classroom minutes in the bathroom, and of course their concerns were along the lines of wetting their pants. Here were some of the suggested solutions:

''We could have a pack of diapers for students who have to go really bad.'' (bursts of giggles from everyone in the class... myself included!)

''We could get detention for having to go to the bathroom!''

''What if we have diahrrea?'' (pronounced ''Whhhhhhot eeeeeef weeeee hofffff diarrrrrea?'' good old Spanish accent in English :))

and then I come home and my roommate suggests I make them carry a toilet seat as the bathroom pass. LOL. I thought it would be great to write ''Miss Siscoe loves her 5th graders'' on the toilet seat... I'm sure they would love to ponder that while sitting on the pot. haha.



I've been able to reconnect with lots of friends and acquaintances since being back in San José.
Women studying at ILE did a typical Costa Rican dance presentation in Parque Sauces. I loved their skirts, and they said the skirts were really heavy!

A focused photo :)
And I went with past Sojourn co-workers to Karol´s 40th birthday celebration. L2R Carolina, Mimi, Karol, Chrissy, Elsa, me.
Caro and Mimi laughing at dinner :)

And today I met up with Calla, one of my first 4th graders!!! She's now living in New Jersey and in 6th grade. She and her family have spent the majority of the summer here in San José, and it was great to see her for just a bit!


Almost Ready!!

This week has been one of hectic preparation for students this next Monday. I have been cleaning, organizing, planning, and stressing every moment Monday through Friday. I am still stressing a bit, only because I am nervous and want to do well at my new job (I definitely have a hint of perfectionism from Dad :)). Alright, so here's a tour of my classroom-after-organization!
The ''Book Gallery''

My desk, bookshelf, and COMPUTER :)

The student's cubbies

A view of the front

And a side view toward the outside windows!

Now I just need to mentally prepare for 20 5th graders walking in the door on Monday!