Entries in teaching (2)

Friday
Jan302015

Pura Vida in Puerto Jimenez 

Pura Vida means pure life, and in Costa Rica, you hear the phrase over and over again. It is a greeting, it is a motto, it is a way of life. The people here are proud of their simple, pure, beautiful lifestyle. In general, Costa Ricans are harmonious with their environment, they are well educated, and they are happy. It’s a wonderful way to be, and an incredible place to live.

In the Frontier teaching house in the little town of Puerto Jimenez, on the Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica, pura vida is alive and well. The casa is centrally located, and you can easily walk anywhere in town that you might need to go (including the beach!). Inside the casa is an interesting mix of cultures—bookshelves full of books in both English and Spanish, Frontier and UK flags on the wall, a traditional Costa Rican coffee drip on the kitchen counter. Outside, laundry dries and papayas ripen in the sun, underscored by a clutter of sandals at the front entrance.

There are several schools in Puerto Jimenez, but we are lucky enough that the one we primarily volunteer with is just a couple short blocks from the casa. The classroom is neat and friendly, with colorful wooden letters decorating the walls. They spell out spanish words like amistad (friendship) and paciencia (patience), two values which are certainly important when volunteer teaching.

The students are generally excited and happy, as are the teachers. The classroom manner is laid-back and fun, just as the country’s pura vida slogan might lead you to believe. Volunteering in Puerto Jimenez is more than just teaching English. There is much to be learned here from the easygoing gratitude of the Costa Rican people, from the wild and beautiful nature, and from living la pura vida.

By Alexa Donahe, Field Communications Officer

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!

Monday
Jan262015

All smiles in English class 

Abril and her older sister Audri walked into the classroom, hesitating slightly inside the door. Audri took Abril’s hand and they walked up to the front row, the first kids to arrive. I introduced myself, and the teaching volunteers—Suzy and Douglas—in Spanish, and we wrote our names on the board. Abril and Audri wrote their names too, and told us their ages. They sat down looking nervous but excited, as we waited for more kids to arrive.

It’s summer vacation for the kids here in Costa Rica, so our teaching volunteers are offering free English classes to the community at 10am and 2pm every weekday. It’s 10am on the first day of the class, and we are all eager to see who turns up. After Abril and Audri, a few more girls came in, and we started class. We had a great time with the small number of students, joking and laughing with them as we learned about colors, numbers, and common greetings. By the end of the class, shy little Abril was introducing herself in English and pointing out colors around the room. It was so sweet.

As the kids got up to leave, they asked when the next class would be, and if they could bring their friends. They couldn’t wait to come back, which was heartwarming and encouraging. They left the class smiling, and sure enough, they all showed up again at 2pm that day, and they had brought their friends. Throughout the week, word spread about the class and soon we had a full classroom. It was incredible how many of these kids truly wanted to learn English, even on their summer vacation. They showed up daily, excited and proud of their new skills.

Now it’s the weekend, and I am looking forward to some beach time and some relaxation. Honestly though, I really can’t wait to get back to school and see those smiling faces on Monday.

By Alexa Donahe, Field Communications Officer

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!