Week 2:
Work and Play


Cornell Fellow in International Student Teaching

Colegio Ecuatoriano Español América Latina | Quito, Ecuador

November 3, 2019

Hey everyone, welcome back to another exciting week of my blog about my Fellowship experience in Ecuador! Picking up where I left off: last Saturday I went to Santiago’s mom’s house for an amazing lunch. Despite my being sick all day on Friday, I felt great on Saturday and was starving after a morning walk with Santiago in Quito’s Bicentennial Park, a park made from the remnants of Quito’s old airport (runway and all). At Santiago’s mom’s, instead of taking it easy on my stomach, I decided to eat everything that was offered to me, which was A LOT. I had steak, a salad, bread, chocolate, shrimp, avocado, sangria, and Colada Morada all in one sitting. Colada Morada is a traditional Ecuadorian drink that is comprised of fruit, spices, and a little bit of corn flower. It is traditionally served hot but some prefer it chilled. It is delicious but very very rich. The entire meal was sublime, but it was not good for my stomach (more on that later). In addition to the great meal, there was great company. Santiago’s family was very inviting and there were two Americans doing their practicum for social work in Ecuador that are currently staying with Santiago’s mom and her friend. It was great to talk to Nicole and Sofia about their time in Ecuador so far (they’ve been here since July) and to be able to speak English for a little while.

Colada Morada

On Saturday evening, Gloria had a event she wanted to go to. She is a competitive salsa dancer and is very talented. Her gym was holding a Halloween party of sorts where they rented two party buses that were essentially mobile dance floors (Chivas), traveled around the historic district blasting salsa music, stopped in front of Basilica del Voto Nacional, and taught everyone the basics of salsa. I got to go along with! Afterwards, we drove to a dance hall and we danced salsa and bachata all night. I went with Gloria, Santiago, Sofia, and Nicole, and we had a great time. It was amazing to learn the basics of salsa and to watch other people (who were much more experienced than I am) dance. It was so much fun! Except my stomach began to hurt gradually more and more throughout the night… By the time we got home, I felt sick again. I was up all night not enjoying the delicious, rich food that I had eaten that day. I was sick all day Sunday and did nothing but drink water and sleep. I did too much too fast, and I paid the price for it.

Colegio Ecuatoriano Espanol America Latina

This week we had a short week with an altered schedule on Thursday in order to have a celebration due to a weekend full of holidays (Dia De Los Muertos, All Souls Day, and Cuenca Independence Day). After a weekend full of sickness, going into my second week was difficult. From getting accustomed to the schedule to trying to learn everyone’s names to making sure I was taking the right bus home to trying to teach math in Spanish to attempting to manage behavior in my classes, I was worn out. Since CEEAL is such a tight-knit school, the students are very comfortable in their environment. They are close with their teachers and with each other. They feel so at ease that they sometimes forget they are in a school setting. They will interrupt class, throw things, and talk loudly with each other. With some reminders they can get back on track, but it is something that we definitely need more work on. It is also an environment that I have never taught in before. This week, Wendy and I worked together to try to help the class stay focused throughout the period. We have made some progress, but still have a long way to go.

Teaching how to find asymptotes of polynomial functions

In addition to working on classroom management, I began to slowly teach more material throughout the week. It has been difficult to teach in English so far because, although math is a universal language, teaching math is not. The level of vocabulary I have at my disposal to explain material is limited. I have to make sure to explain what I am doing in very elementary terms, which makes it hard to go in depth on the reasons behind certain concepts. Having Wendy in the class is amazing because together, we can be the perfect team. We can provide the students the English exposure they want at the same time they are getting the math education they need. Whenever one of us is teaching, the other can help individual students out. It is a great system and I am sure we will get it polished and functioning to the best of its ability soon enough.

The basketball court at CEEAL

On Thursday, we had only a couple hours of class because we had festivities to attend to as well. In the morning, we spent the first hour of school making Guaguas de Pan. “Guagua” is Quechuan for “child” or “baby”. These sweet rolls of bread that resemble small children are traditionally eaten on November 2nd with Colada Morada as gesture to the ancestors of the Andean region. There is a rich history on why both Guagua de Pan and Colada Morada are consumed. If you are interested, I would highly recommend you look into it! While our Guaguas de Pan were cooking, we had classes per usual with the exception of an hour long break where we drank Colada Morada. After my beverage, I spent the rest of the hour playing basketball with Bachillerato Tercero. And to add on to all of the excitement that was already occurring on Thursday, it was also Wendy’s birthday! At the end of the day, Wendy and I were coming from our planning period in the library on our way to get our homeroom’s Guaguas de Pan when I saw one of our students in the auditorium. He shouldn’t have been there so I looked in to see what was happening. Wendy came to check it out as well and when we walked in the auditorium, SURPRISE! All of Bachillerato Primero was there with pizza, cake, chips, and drinks. Araceli, the other homeroom teacher of Bachillerato Primero had organized the whole party. We celebrated Wendy’s birthday for the last hour of the day! It was surprising, even for me, and it was a great way to end an amazing (but long) week.

Guagua de Pan (I did not make this)
Primero Bachillerato throwing a birthday party for Wendy!

On Friday, I slept in. Around noon, once we had all had breakfast and a relaxing morning, Gloria, Adrian, and I set off to explore El Mitad del Mundo (The Equator, Latitude  00°00’00”). We first visited a crater a little North of the Equator. The Andes are home to a large amount of volcanoes and Quito is surrounded by them. In the crater we visited (the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve), there are people who have settled within it. It is one of two inhabited volcanic craters on earth. Afterwards, we went on a tour of an interactive museum about the Equator as well as Ecuador’s indigenous persons and fauna. I had a great time learning and I received a certificate for balancing an egg on a nail (although you can do that trick anywhere). Lastly, we visited Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. It is a city that contains the estimated latitude of 00°00’00” from the 18th century Franco-Spanish Geodesic Mission, a spot commemorated by the Monument to the Equator. I had a lot of fun learning about Topography, Geodesy, and Cartography and the museums surrounding the monument were very informative!

Me in front of the Monument of the Equator

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:30 to travel with Nancy Ayala de Roggiero, founder of the FUNLIF Foundation and the head of CEEAL, her daughter, Claudia, and Claudia’s friend, Christina, to the beach! We arrived at Canoa beach a little after noon and made sure to get a walk on the beach, some lunch, and a dip in the pool before it got dark. This morning, we made brunch and hung out around the apartment we are staying at until around noon. Afterwards, we went to the beach, swam in the ocean, and walked some more. It is so tranquil here, and the sunsets are absolutely amazing. Even though we drive back tomorrow, a quick vacation to the beach was the perfect way to end the week. See you all next week!

Brady Tobin '19

Brady is a math education major, computer science minor from Erie, Colorado.