Teacher Training!

These last two weeks, all the teachers at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy have been participating in teacher training. It was a time for new teachers to meet old teachers, to talk about mission and purpose and vision, and to plan the new year.

Some of the activities that the teachers did included comparison of MAAA style with traditional style teaching, and out of the box thinking for the monthly themes. The first activity, the comparison of teaching styles, the teachers were instructed to make a list of things they had learned in college about how to teach, what teachers do… anything related to education. They were then asked to make a second list… how does the Academy differ from what they were taught? Some of the important differences our teachers pointed out was that they were told to always give homework; at the Academy, homework should serve a purpose beyond filling time. Another difference was that they were taught that the teacher is the sole source of knowledge; here they recognize that their students also have ideas and experiences and things to share with the class.

The second activity allowed the teachers to brainstorm ideas for the monthly themes, using experiences from their own lives. The monthly themes recognize many of the social issues present in Guatemala, such as health and ecology, machismo, women’s right and indigenous rights. The teachers first thought of events or experiences from their own lives, which they thought were wrong or negative. Examples included young children working as candy sellers on the streets, teenage pregnancy and exploitation of children, and people throwing trash in the streets. These individual experiences were then put into categories, such as children’s rights and health and ecology. They will be used as a starting ground for classroom discussions and learning about the reality that our students see every day!

Construction… not us, but the road!

Many of you know that we’ve been under construction for what feels like forever. And we are so excited to have our building finished and looking beautiful. All that’s missing are the students.

You may also know that our street has always been dirt. We are the last dirt street between 24 and 25 Avenues, until you start going down into the barrio behind us. The dust has always been a bother… keeping things clean has been a hastle and when the wind whips up, you have to watch out or you’ll get a mouth full of fine road dirt.

Many of you know that we’ve been under construction for what feels like forever. And we are so excited to have our building finished and looking beautiful. All that’s missing are the students.

You may also know that our street has always been dirt. We are the last dirt street between 24 and 25 Avenues, until you start going down into the barrio behind us. The dust has always been a bother… keeping things clean has been a hastle and when the wind whips up, you have to watch out or you’ll get a mouth full of fine road dirt.

But exciting news! The municipality is currently paving our road! It started with some trench digging, loud construction vehicles, and many men working the area. We aren’t sure on the time frame for the road, but the way they’re moving along, this thing could be done in a month! We’re more than excited to have not only our completed building, but also a paved road in front of it!

Success of Global Giving Day

On June 16th, www.globalgiving.com matched 50% of every donation that was made that day. It was incredibly successful! The Academy raised a total of $23,000 to help fund the construction of the first community library in the region, which will be located on the newly constructed third floor of the school. Most Guatemalans are restricted from obtaining a quality education because of how severe the lack of access to books are. Books are taxed beyond the reach of 75% of the impoverished population, making it difficult to engender literacy in low-income children. The Academy’s vision for constructing the community library is to create after-school reading programs, reading exchanges with students abroad, and use library resources and space for community and cultural events. With all of these initiatives, the Asturias Academy will foster an environment that promotes a love of reading. Thank you to all our generous donors for helping make this a reality!