Strike Two| Natural Language Institute

Insights and Experiences


Strike Two

By Rita Elena Daniel - 30/oct/2015 #Historia, Cultura y Artes

I awoke on Saturday morning at 6:30am. A lovely morning with plans for a day in the park with some adorable younglings to celebrate their day—“Dia de Crianças” or “Children’s Day”—a holiday not celebrated in the U.S., but which I dreamed of having as a kid. “We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, why don’t we have a kid’s day?!” I whined to myself. Well, my wish came true, only 20-something years late. So, in honor of this day, my boss and I, the director of the school, planned a super educational immersion experience for our youngest students—The Natural Kids. Our idea was to have a scavenger hunt followed by a treasure hunt at the Parque Olhos d’Agua, a wonderful park next to the school with trails and humungous anthills, a creek, and awesome playgrounds, so that they could practice all four domains of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in a fun environment.

When I arrived at school at 8am on that fateful Saturday morning, I began preparing PBJ’s for our students to try as a snack after their activities, when suddenly my boss came into the kitchen and said with shock in her voice, “The park is closed.” After weeks of pedagogical planning, gathering materials, preparing teachers, calling the park to ensure our space there, how could it be closed?! What were the odds and why, on day of all days, was it this day? “They’re on strike.” Flabbergasted, my colleagues and I dropped everything and regrouped to solve this problem. Could we reschedule? No. We had too many things already prepared to cancel now. One teacher suggested that we change locations to the City Park instead—a place much further away, and with a lot more distractions for the kids. Seeing as it was the only chance we had to keep from cancelling the event, we called the parent’s and let them know about the VERY last minute change in plans (the event was supposed to start at 9am, for goodness sake!).

As I look back on this, I realize that many parents could have been less accomm
odating about this issue—but not in Brazil! Honestly, how was it our fault that this random, freak strike would commence on the exact day of our Children’s Day event? While it wasn’t our fault, many students’ parents could have said how inconvenient— blah, blah, blah—it was. But they didn’t! They were very understanding and grateful, and for that we all were pleased. Yes, of course, there is almost always a glitch in plans—even when you prepare for everything—especially when you live in Brazil. The trick to this lifestyle is, as I’m learning little by little, to always have your wits about you and be ready to solve a problem at that drop of a hat.

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