My teacher must have told everyone I didn't speak Spanish because, when I got there the first day, all the girls in the class crowded around my desk and spoke to me in a mix of very basic English and Spanish. They also kissed my cheek (that is how they say hello here) and told me their names---Paula, Amanda, Margarita, Nicole, Valentina, Cristina, Isidora, and so on.
They asked me all kinds of questions, like where I was from, how long I was staying here, did I understand, if I had a sister, where in the United States I lived, did I understand, did I want to play a game, did I understand, did I understand, did I understand (they asked that a lot).
My teacher is a man, and he speaks slowly so I can follow what he says. He is very nice, and he said he was Mapuche, which means he is a descendant of one of the native tribes of Chile called the Mapuches. You can find more about the Mapuches here.
We have a long school day, with TEN periods! Lunch is period number 7, at one in the afternoon. Every day has a different schedule. For example, on Mondays ("Lunes") I start with Computer Technology, then Math, English, Language and Communication, History of Chile, Music, Lunch, Science, and two periods of Physical Education.
My classroom ("la sala") is on the second floor (the school has three floors). When we go outside for break, all the kids in the school, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, are together. They don't separate children by age.
They call kindergarten "kinder," and then, from first grade to eighth grade, they call them the "básicos." For example, my grade is "sexto básico" (sixth grade), and RJE's is "primero básico" (first grade). Then, instead of ninth grade, they have "primero medio," followed by "segundo," "tercero," and "cuarto medio," which is the last year of high school and the same as twelfth grade.
Our school is like Harry Potter's school, in a way, because of the uniform, the stairs, and even some mean teachers! Students are also allowed to walk alone in the hallways, without the teacher. And we have lockers.
Anna Karenina #11
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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007