Despite the fact that the education system in Panama is struggling, MEDUCA does not forget to appreciate the students and their efforts for being committed to their education. Every October 27th is Dia del Estudiante (Day of the student) in Panama. It is a day dedicated to celebrating students and their hard work in school. The teachers must find a student to replace them for the day, normally the student with the highest grades. The rest of the students are then assigned different roles according to their grades. The teachers must then take the role of the student for the day. This is meant to be fun and encourage kids to gain leadership in their classroom. There is also a mini celebration after school including plenty of food, candy, and fun!
This October 27th happened to be my last class teaching in La Chapa and was definitely a great experience. One of the fifth grade girls was teacher for the day followed by 2 other girls taking the role of director (principal) and cook and a boy being the groundskeeper. It was interesting to see how the class interacted while their peers were the ones teaching. There was not as much chaos as I expected to see, everything seemed to be under control!
At the end of the class, we were served a hearty portion of arroz con pollo, an awesome pinkish looking potatoe salad with remolacha (beets), and pound cake with marshmallow frosting, and chichi (fruit drink/juice). The food was one of the best meals I have ever had in Panama! Following the meal, we received party favors, some cookies, candy, and bananas.
After lunch was over, Alida and I set up the piñata that we had made for the children (a pencil!). Although it was not the sturdiest piñata (it broke after 3 hits), the kids seemed to enjoy it and went crazy gathering the goodies that poured out of it! It was a great way to end the semester with my students at La Chapa!