Wednesday, April 27, 2011



If you, OR ANYONE YOU KNOW, might be interested in hosting an exchange student from Spain from June 30th-July 24th please let me know!  I'm working with a student exchange company called American Discovery, and I need to find host families for 7 more high school students, and 1 female chaperon.

The students are high-school aged, eager to improve their English, and so excited about spending three weeks in the United States.  They come completely insured, with their own spending money, and the cost of all of our activities is included in their program fee.  The only additional cost to the host families is the extra mouth to feed for just three weeks. 

Right now I am responsible for recruiting host families, but once the students arrive the real fun begins!  I'm in charge of coordinating awesome trips and activities for the students AND their host families during the three weeks. It's a great way to practice Spanish, and an even better way to learn about a different culture, PLUS you (and/or your kids) can participate in the trips and activities  (hosted by me) to San Francisco, Six Flags, AND Sun Splash. (I'm sure it's the Sun Splash that will really seal the deal for a lot of you).

American Discovery charters a bus for all of the far out of town trips, as well as provides transportation to and from the airport.  Host families only responsibility in regards to these trips is to get the students to the meet up points.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you or anyone you know might even kind of sort of maybe want to know even a tiny little bit about this program please contact me!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Love Potion

One of my student's parents invited Lee and I to come over for dinner a couple of weeks ago.  They are the nicest people in the world, so we readily accepted, although doing so required me to reveal to my student (and; therefore, my entire class) that I have a boyfriend.

Five year olds have a really hard time understanding what goes on in people's lives in between college and marriage.  I get questions all the time about this, such as, "Who do you live with?  Where are your kids?  Do you have a mom?  If you aren't married, then who do you sleep with?"  They have no concept of life after college but before marriage.  So while I don't hide the fact that I have a boyfriend, I don't really advertise it either because it is confusing to them.

Once word got out that I had a real life boyfriend that I LIKE like weird things started happening.  Granted, some of my students could not have cared less.  As long as I keep the legos available and the juice supply plentiful they have little concern about what I do.  However, a couple of the girls in my class were completely fascinated with my new-found relationship status and it caused them to act like, well, a bunch of school girls.

They began stealing off to corners of the playground to whisper and point at me.  I would catch snippets of conversations with words like boyfriend, love, gross, married, and the like.  When I approached the girls and asked them what they were talking about they would all laugh and cry, "NOTHING!!! But we know about your boyfriend!!!!" (I briefly considered giving them a life lesson on "playing it cool," but decided against it, as maintaining a straight face to cover your tracks is not a California State Standard).

Eventually this behavior spilled over into playtime, where for several days in a row all this gaggle of girls did was make lists.  Endless, endless lists.  At first I was fine with it because they were writing!  Hooray, a teaching success!  But then another one of my students, who walks a fine line between only caring about juice and being vaguely interested in other parts of my life came up to me and said she needed to say something important.

"Maestra Robin," she started, "I want you to know that those girls are making up a secret potion for you to drink."
"Oh really?" I said, "What kind of potion?"
"It's a kind of potion that makes you fall in love so you will kiss your boyfriend."
I considered this and then asked, "Why do they want me to kiss my boyfriend?"
Exasperated, my student threw her hands up in the air, "BECAUSE they want you to get married!"
"OK...." I carefully continued, "and why do they want me to get married?"
This particular student did a double take over both shoulders to make sure no one would hear the terrible plot that she was so carelessly revealing to me, "They want you to get married so they can be FLOWER GIRLS IN YOUR WEDDING!"

Well, there it was; the whole sordid plan spelled out for me.  A flower girl is a most coveted position for five year old girls, and it appears that they will stop at nothing to secure it.

I decided that this had gone on for long enough, so I sauntered over to the table where two girls were furiously scribbling away on two pieces of paper.  When they saw me they gasped and covered their papers, which I plucked out from underneath their hands to examine.

"What is this for?"  I asked.
"NOTHING!!!!" they both cried.  "Really, it's nothing."
"It doesn't look like nothing, " I replied, "It almost looks like you are trying to make some sort of...potion?"

Their facial expressions vacillated between disbelief and fear before one of them offered, "Oh yes!  It IS a  potion!  A potion for my BROTHER so he will fall in love with HIS girlfriend and kiss HER."
"YES!" the other one cried, "Her brother has a girlfriend!"

"Well, here's the thing:" I said, as their heads hung, fearing that they were about to be found out.  "If you're going to make lists for potions, you're going to need to write in Spanish."  Their eyes flashed up to me with shock.  They had gotten away with it!  They were making secret potion for me and I had NO idea.  They were so smart.

"OK Maestra!  We will!" (Cue the exchange of knowing glances)

Later I was able to get a copy of the secret potion ingredient list.  After some difficult decoding, this is what I think it says:

Salt, butter, milk, juice, sparkles,
pieces of pepper, cinnamon, crayons,
nail polish, ice, markers, soap, bean,
leaves, blood, Capri Sun's (apostrophe S?), germs, candy, brother's potion (nice try), glitter, magic, lipstick, hair. Water, lemon, orange juice, flower seeds, hand sanitizer, rock, feather's (there's that apostrophe again), play dough, eraser and pencils, blocks, grass, spit, boogers, bread, wax, stickers, wood, fruit, gum, strings, food, coffee, nails, rubber, fur, mucous, legos, plastic, tea, 6, glue, and buttons.

Thank God I'm still alive.

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