My last week of school in Belén de Umbría was actually just three days long. The first day of the week at Nuestra Señora del Rosario started on a Tuesday because of a holiday on Monday. I met with my 11th graders in the morning. I taught them how to play dodgeball for the first 40 minutes of class. Thankfully, there were no injuries. They seemed to enjoy the game for the most part, so I was happy about that.
The last 10 minutes of class were dedicated to saying thanks and goodbye to the class because they were graduating after this week. We sat in a circle and they told me they were happy to have me in the class. They also said they felt their English improved since I arrived, which made me feel even better.
After the class ended, we took some time to take pictures.
The rest of the day, I met individually with each student to grade them on the pen pal project I implemented two months earlier. The project went fairly well. About seven students and seven pen pals didn’t write or respond. So about 14 of 43 didn’t work out. The others did a decent amount of communicating for the most part.
Thursday marked the very last day of class for the school year. I visited a couple of classes in the morning in 7th and 8th grade. The students prepared notes for me thanking me for my time. It really made me feel great to get the notes.
At 11am, it was time for an assembly. The students watched a slideshow of photos and videos from the past school year. After that, there was a flag ceremony in which the 11th graders symbolically passed the flags of Colombia, Risaralda, and Belén de Umbría to the 10th graders, the next graduating class.
After the presentation it was time for me to act in a play written by one of the 11th grade students, Anderson. He is a very talented actor with a great sense of humor and he wrote a brilliant play. It was about a Colombian man, Maruchengo (Anderson), who was summoned to the United States by a man (played by me) to teach Spanish to his children. He took a nine day bus ride to the U.S., taught the children Colombian Spanish slang while corrupting them, and caused a huge fight between the man and his wife. When Maruchengo returned to Colombia, the man and his children followed him to live there.
In the middle of the play, I had to dance Ras Tas Tas, a popular Colombian Salsa Choke song, in front of the whole school! I was nervous, but I think I did alright. I really hope nobody has it on video.
At the end of the play, I changed into a Colombian football shirt and hat, walked in front of the entire school with a microphone, and said “Me separé de mi esposa porque descubrí que soy mas colombiano que americano, y me gusta las colombianas!” Translation: “I separated from my wife because I discovered I’m more Colombian than American, and I like Colombian women!” I was nervous about that as well, but I think I nailed it. It was greeted with screams from the girls in the crowd. Again, I hope a video never surfaces.
After the play, school was officially over for the year. I’m ready for my nice two month break and some exciting trips with my girlfriend Marisol, but I still have energy for more classes. I had a great time with the kids and wish I had been with them the entire year. Class 11-3 was the class I spent the most time with, and I’ll miss seeing them next February when classes start again.