One morning, I was picked up at my school in Belén de Umbría and taken to a rural school in La Tribuna, a tiny rural village about 45 minutes away. The ride through the mountains was down a narrow one-lane muddy road. It was slippery and dangerous. The road had no guardrails and it was a straight drop down the mountain.
The only thing keeping me calm was the incredible view. A heavy fog covered the entire valley, creating an interesting mix of green into the fog.
I arrived at the one room school and met the teacher and all 11 of his students. The students were in the 6th through 10th grades and all sat in the same classroom. The teacher had to teach all five grades at the same time. They only receive two hours of English a week. The classroom was also without any technology whatsoever.
The students were very excited to have someone from a foreign country visiting their school. I split them into two groups and spent a little over an hour with each group. With the younger students, we practiced grammar they had been learning in class. With the older group, we had a chat and I showed them some photos of my travels. Neither group wanted to finish class when our time was up.
The students in the rural school have a very different education. I can’t imagine being their teacher and having to juggle five grades at once. The students did seem very dedicated – some of them walk up to an hour through rough roads and sometimes unsuitable weather conditions to come to class. They were also very respectful. It was an interesting experience for me and I hope to visit the class again soon.