Día del Niño at Mayatan School: A Teacher’s Perspective
Holiday! One of many in Honduras, and the first one we’ve been able to celebrate with our students, El Día del Niño (Children’s Day) is a rather important celebration throughout the country. All around town, kids wear their favorite outfits (sparkly pants, dresses, shirts) and eat bombones and dulces (suckers and candies). There are piñatas for sale everywhere, and we saw a man selling bright pink cotton candy on the street, a first for Honduras (for me, at least!).
At Mayatan, there are many treats and games for the primary students to play all day long, but for the older kids, the secondary students that I teach, we had something else to plan. Because the secondary students aren’t really kids anymore, they instead spend the day out in other barrios and aldeas (neighborhoods and little villages, roughly translated) to celebrate with less fortunate kids. Ever since school started, it’s been on their minds, and we’ve even taken a few class periods to talk with my homeroom students about planning El Día del Niño. As I said, it’s a big deal here!
So today, instead of holding class, I went with my seventh graders and two other teachers out into a little community. It wasn’t far from the school, but because of the road construction, we took the long way on a dirt road near the school. The barrio is much less affluent than the one I live in; kids there wore dirtier clothing and clearly had much less than the kids I teach at our little bilingual school. Many of their mothers came and watched as our kids put up their handmade piñatas (of Hello Kitty and Frankenstein, among others). The seventh grade boys played something called futbolito, and later the girls played tug-of-war. I just learned the word for this in Spanish, but I’m not positive – I think it’s something like saltar la cuerda, but that could be wrong.
After handing out food, drinks, cake, and bags of candy, our seventh graders were worn-out and having some difficulty. It’s the first year that they haven’t gotten to be the kids for this day, and the idea that they needed to hand out presents and food without necessarily getting any in return was a difficult concept for them. Still, I think it was a good learning experience, and I think it will give them a lot to think about. Next year, when El Día del Niño comes around, I hope they’ll be more excited about their new role in the celebrations. They’ve got a lot of growing to do, but they’ve also got a lot of potential, and I’m very excited to see my students’ growth over the coming year.
For now, though, I am exhausted and ready for the weekend….this day was exciting, but a little tiring – from the teacher’s perspective at least!
Note: This was reposted from teacher Alexa von der Embse's blog.