As you can imagine, life is a bit different for us in Panama City compared to Crested Butte. Surprisingly, there are some similarities as well.
A typical school day for us starts EARLY compared to CB. We have a window of when we need to leave our apartment to get to school. We leave between 6:20 – 6:40 am. Yes, back that up and the alarm goes off early especially the days I run before work.
Our commute isn’t long distance wise, but it takes about 20 minutes when the stars are aligned. We plan for some wiggle room because you never know when semi-truck is blocking the road or it is raining or a manhole cover is missing in the road so everyone is swerving to miss it. I will dedicate a whole blog post to driving in Panama City because it is unreal!
For the boys, the school is structured in block scheduling. They have eight 85 minute classes that meet every other day. It took awhile to organize for this schedule, but they have adapted. It works well because they can delve deeper into subjects and work on independent work with teacher support. Both sections have an advisory program where they meet with an advisory group 1-2 times a week. Middle school meets more often and this had made all the difference for Liam’s transition. He has a nice connection with his teacher and the students in the group.
Sully is running cross country in high school with yours truly as his coach! I felt a bit guilty when I took the position because one of the first comments he said when I was hired in Panama was “next year, I won’t have a parent as a coach”. Technically, I had never been his coach and I always tried to be hands off during his MS running seasons…
For me, it is weird not to be in a classroom! When I need a fix, I hang out in the 1st grade rooms! My week flies by and I am getting more comfortable with structuring my time. My natural tendency is to procrastinate! So I have taken my calendar and created a “lesson plan” format to hold myself accountable for deadlines & my time. One of the first projects I tackled was the book room–it was quite the mess with tens of thousands of dollars of the most amazing resources in one small room.
I work closely with each grade level team providing support during their planning period and I am on various administrative teams. Obviously, my main responsibility is to create and organize the curriculum. It has been fun and challenging to use my brain in a different manner.
Dano has been back in Panama for almost 1 month,. The first 2 weeks was a bit of a culture shock leaving Whatever, USA to Panama City. Now he is filling his time with exercise, walks around the neighborhood, cleaning & cooking. He is expanding his Spanish via trips to the grocery store. He is able to read many food related Spanish words. Not bad for someone who only knew how to order a beer in Spanish and say hola. Yesterday, I asked him if he was bored yet. He looked at me like I was crazy and answered no!
Even though our day starts early, it ends early as well. The activity bus leaves school at 4:30 so I must end practice by 4:15. We usually get home by 5:00 so that allows for a swim in the pool or some downtime before dinner & homework!
Our weekday daily life has some challenges–traffic, organization (if you leave something at home, there is no turning around to get it), and more traffic! We are adjusting and I am amazed at the days where it seems normal.