Since the New Year and the new school semester began, I have been in kind of a wacky mood. I completed a Fund for Teachers grant proposal (my first grant proposal ever) and actually made the deadline, I have been organizing all of the National Geographic science and social studies theme sets that our system purchased two years ago, and I have been trying a new tack with my lessons incorporating art. While my husband was in Anaheim for a music convention, I took 3 personal days and had 5 days at home alone with the dog. I am buying art idea books like crazy, but only sporadically making art. I have been eating and buying everything in sight.
The Fund for Teachers grant was mentioned to us by our school system in December. When the e-mail was sent, there were examples of the kinds of grants that have been funded:
- Travel to four cities in China studying, filming, and cataloging the history and culture of Eastern China
- Attend the Creativity Workshop in Florence, Italy to learn strategies that nurture student creativity
- Travel to Salamanca, Spain to attend a master’s Spanish language course at the University of Salamanca
- Travel to Chennai, India to observe, study, and learn teaching strategies for math students with learning disabilities
- Attend an intense Spanish language immersion course in Cuernavaca, Mexico designed for educators
Of course, when I read the many grants provided for travel and language, I immediately thought of Mexico. About 7 years ago, I went to the Baden-Powell Institute in Morelia, Mexico to study Spanish for two weeks. I went alone (as my husband often reminds me, missing our first anniversary) and lived with a Mexican grandmother and her son and went to school in the mornings for four hours of one on one instruction. In my spare time, I walked around Morelia and bought things. I also went to Atlixco to visit old family friends. Then, my mother flew down after the course and we stayed in old colonial hotels in Morelia and Patzcuaro and toured the “craft belt” – even taking an eco-tour on the spur of the moment with a guide named Francisco Castilleja.
So, in a nutshell, my grant asks for $5000 (exactly) to travel to Morelia, rent an apartment for a month, and to take one month of classes at the Baden Powell Institute. I have also proposed field trips to Patzcuaro, Puebla, and Guadalajara. My purpose is to home my Spanish skills, and to research crafts and folklore in the area with the purpose of writing curriculum using these things in my ESOL Language Arts and Reading Curriculum. Sounds pretty impressive, huh? I’m a bit impressed, myself. It sounds like a totally different person will be doing this project…
If I get the grant, we will rustle up our own monies to pay for my husband’s airfare, tuition, and expenses. The only concern I have is my dog. Now, I have done some research, and it is supposed to really not be a big deal to bring your dog to Mexico with you – you just need vet records and a health certificate. I also know that it is possible to drive to Mexico – my family did it in 1977, and my mother and aunt did it about 10 years ago. My husband is resistant to the driving idea, so we have made plans for airfare and car rental.
My dog, however, is pretty neurotic, so I have misgivings about finding a dog sitter for 6 weeks. I mean, every day when I come home from school, she nearly breaks the door down with pawing and frantic barking. It is as if I had abandoned her. She runs around, barking and whining. This, of course, does not happen when my husband leaves the house. So, how will she handle me being away for 6 weeks?
As usual, I am putting the cart before the horse. Let’s see if I get the grant, first.