Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Best of Small Town-Ms. R

Friday is the last day of school here so I thought I'd tell you about the unique school experience my kids have had here in Small Town.

Guapo and I came to Small Town for two days before we actually moved here to check out housing and schools. I will have you know I spent the better part of those two days crying in a room at the Holiday Inn.

At the time, Margarita (now 8 yrs) was finishing up her kindergarten year at an excellent international school in Caracas, Venezuela. There is no international school in Small Town and the Mexican schools that we visited were just not acceptable. But, we had to come, so we picked the lesser of the evils for her last three months of kinder.

During that time, she brought home lots of homework: my favorites were memorizing multiplication tables (she had just turned 6 for Pete's sake), and cursive writing. She dealt with it like a champ, but as a mom, it was difficult to watch. This lifestyle is hard enough, but when you feel like you are hurting your kids, it can be almost unbearable.

(When Julio attended Pre-K at a Mexican school last year he brought home math problems like, “24-16=?” If he missed school, I would be reprimanded by the teacher that he was holding the whole class back. Grrrrr. And when a kid hit another kid, the hit-ee was instructed to hit the hitter. Great, just what I want my kids to learn.)

Enter Ms. R, an American teacher who was here working exclusively for an international company. Long story short, several companies, including Guapo's, teamed up with her and for the last two years she has been my children’s teacher (Margarita for two years and Julio for the past year).

During that time, the school has ranged from 8 to 12 students. They follow the Calvert homeschooling program. Class is held in a house that with the help of Ms. R, has been made to look like a school inside. Here is Margarita's classroom:

Ms. R does everything in her power to make the kids' experience as "normal" as possible.

They take field trips. Here they are visiting the Small Town Zoo:

February 2005 Cassidy's field trip at zoo 1

They have cultural events. Here's a shot from "Colombia Day" where they were learning about typical Colombian dance:


They have birthday parties:


They dance:

March 7, 2005 Cassidy's birthday dance

If Ms. R hadn’t been in Small Town, we could not have stayed here. I can't say enough good about her. She, along with another wonderful woman from Columbia, juggle 4 grades everyday, from kinder to 5th grade. She’s the kind of teacher who requires obedience in her classroom, but does so in such a loving way that kids want to behave. She has been a second mom to all of her students.

So, thanks to Ms. R, what I thought would be the worst part of Small Town has instead turned out to be the very best part. My kids have received loving, individual attention that I don’t think they could have received anywhere else. The schooling situation here would not work for everyone, but it has for us. In March, my kids had entrance exams at several schools in Big City Mexico and everyone commented how far ahead they are. It pains me to take my kids away from this amazing woman and her little school.

So, thank you Ms. R, for being such a blessing to me and to my children the last 2 years! We will miss you!


No Cool Story said...

Aww, you are so blessed with Ms. R.
What an amazing story, going from multiplication at 6 years old, and getting “lucha libre” lessons at school to the normal teacher, with normal classes and normal expectations, your kids are the winners! Especially when chilangos tell you the kids are ahead

Ms R Rocks!

Heather from One Woman's World said...

So sad that she's leaving.

Tess said...

so what's up with expecting pre-k's to know double digit/borrowing subtraction? hello?

I'm glad your kids had such a great teacher in those important years though.

handiemom said...

I remember when we lived in Mexico, most kids started Pre-K at age 3! That was scarey to me. They are just out of the toddler stage and then wisked off to school.

How great you found Ms. R. A good teacher makes all the difference.

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Teachers like that are such a find. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Good luck finding more wonderful teachers! :)

Gina said...

That is sooo great! I wish Liam could have a teacher like that someday! What a blessing!

Janice J. said...

Living in Costa Rica, I went to a private American school that met in a converted school house. I have very fond memories of that. Hopefully, your children will too. Make sure Ms. R reads this tribute. I am sure it will make her day if not year!

My Full Hands said...

How wonderful. I always feel blessed when my kids get teachers that really show interest in them as individuals. Your children have been very lucky!

utmommy said...

You are so lucky to have found her. They will probably remember her forever.

K-squared's Mom said...

You're so right. Having a teacher like her is a blessing not only for the kids but to their parents as well. I feel so secure when I know she's in charge. I'm sure my kids will miss yours next school year but we're thankful that Ms. R will still be here to continue the marvelous job she's doing them.

Grammy said...

No wonder you and k squared's mom made her that amazing quilt. Teaching may not be the most lucrative job in the world, but having good students and parents who appreciate your efforts make it all worthwhile. Knowing you, I know that Mrs. R was also blessed by the relationship.