Jenny Lada - Oaxaca, Mexico
That morning I had to get up super early because it would be my last day at the school, my last day with the little first graders that, in just two weeks time, I had already grown so close to and who I adored so much. Of course I was running late. My two roommates were already out of the room, and sure enough Norma came in to rush me out because the taxis were waiting. I grabbed all the gifts that I had prepared for my students and for my host teacher, Miss Xhuba (pronounced Shoe-ba), and I ran out the door and joined all the others that were waiting in the taxis.
After we took some group photos, it was finally time to go in the school...for the last time. I wasn't prepared for how hard it was going to be, right now I was just treating it like any other day. When I got in the classroom, the lights were on, which was unusual since usually they keep the lights off for the whole day if its light enough outside. They were able to do this because the whole right and much of the left side of the classroom were made up of windows. In the hallway the wall on the opposite side of the classrooms (all the classrooms were on the same side of the hallway) had gaps in it, and in the gaps instead of windows there was nothing at all. This was the best part of the school, and they could have a partly open hallway because the weather was almost always warm and dry.
I grabbed a chair and brought it near the door of the classroom and sat down. There was a group of students huddled together, all speaking in Spanish, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Some more students ran inside the classroom, and they were saying loudly, "Miss Xhuba, Miss Xhuba!" indicating that their teacher was probably coming down the hallway towards the classroom. The boy that was yelling her name ran to the teacher's desk and hid under it, and the other boy tried to close the door to block her from coming in. But a few girls stopped him, so he ran over and joined the other boy that was hiding behind her desk. I figured by now that Miss Xhuba would've reached the classroom, but she still hadn't showed up. More children were coming in now, and the two boys would warn each of them in Spanish probably about Miss Xhuba and the hiding game that they were playing.
I kept watching all the children, knowing that this was my last day with them, and after this I would never see them again. Hopefully the time that I was there (only for half the day) would go by slowly. But of course, whenever you want time to go by slow, it always go by super fast. Once Miss Xhuba finally arrived in the classroom, I greeted her and then shortly after that, she began the class. She explained to the children, first in English then in Spanish, how it was my last day with them all, and how shortly I would be going back home to Michigan, in the United States. The children were very surprised and looked like they were not expecting this at all. This just made it harder. I started to talk to them about the gifts that I had brought them, which included some foam picture frames with a picture of the class and me that I had made each of them, a class ABC book that I had put together after doing a lesson on English words with them, and some pictures of my family and CMU that I had brought in to show them so they could understand better where I came from and what my family was like. The whole time I talked to them, the teacher translated so the class could understand everything I said. Before you know it though, it was time for me to go, and as all the kids, including the whole school, lined up after recess to listen to the Principal talk, we started to say our goodbyes.
Then all of the sudden it hit me and the tears started flowing. I wasn't expecting this, I didn't think it would be this hard. But just the fact that I knew that I would probably never get to see these kids again made me so sad, and even though I couldn't wait to go home to see my family and just be back in America, I didn't really want to leave my 1st grade class. The principal had all the children sing this song called, "Alegre la Mañana" which means "Happy the morning" and it was our favorite song that the school sang together. As they sang it several times, the tears were just down pouring on my face, and my little first graders started crying as well. We had grown so close, and they were all such great kids, I just hope they knew how much I really enjoyed being with them. After that moment, I knew that I would always remember them as my first class ever. They will always be in my heart, and I will never forget my study abroad experience teaching kids in Mexico.