Education Director of the Amigos Academy, Nic Herrmann, reflects on the first day of school in March 2020 as he prepares for the Academy’s second opening after being closed for social distancing.
The First Day of School
After much anticipation and planning, months of hiring and organizing, and a few restless nights, La Chuscada’s newest iteration, Amigos Academy was ready to welcome our first group of students to our English, Computer, and Spanish literacy classes. The day felt both monumental and pedestrian; monumental for me and the dedicated and enthusiastic team tasked with recruiting students, setting up our classrooms, and writing lessons plans; pedestrian for the students, especially the young ones, who wandered into our eccentrically painted school grounds to begin a few more hours of class.
As I watched the students file in on our first day of class, March 16, 2020, my stomach fluttered with excitement while my mind meticulously combed through my day’s lesson plan. One foot grounded in what this place and these students will become; leaders of a new generation of educated Nicaraguans, with dreams and aspirations. The other foot grounded in the practical needs and goals for the day.
Day one went well, as did week one. As with anything new, there were hiccups. I am still getting used to two first names and two last names, which is why taking attendance is still the most stressful part of my day. And too, computer classes without computers makes for some inventive lesson plans (we have since bought and installed the desktops)! But above all, there is no greater sense of purpose to be felt than watching students voluntarily enter our school, excited to learn and willing to trust us with this learning.
And though we only got through a week’s worth of lessons before social distancing paused classes, our plans for return are imminent and our hopes for our school are boundless.
A Second First Day is Coming
Our teachers have taken advantage of time away, working on their teaching craft by completing a series of professional development courses and classes on teaching strategy. We also beautified an already beautiful school by painting various murals with the help of the greater Amigos community. And now, we gear up to welcome back our students, the bright spots in the La Chuscada community.
I am not sure what the Amigos Academy will become, but I know it’s going to be good. The history and story behind this school speaks for itself. We have so many hopes and dreams that have yet to unfold. We also have a litany of community members eager to help us grow this educational hub into a place that can serve even more students of different educational levels and abilities. Undoubtedly, the best it yet to come.
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