School’s out for Summer! Instagram photo reel

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last few months of volunteering with the KKIS project, a local charity organisation providing English tuition and school supplies to a local school in Playa del Carmen. The grade two and three students I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with on Wednesday afternoons for the last couple months have never failed to impress me with their love of learning and fun. It’s hard to believe the year is already half-way through; since we’ve all worked so hard they’ve given us the summer off!

working hard


Over the last semester we’ve done some creative activities together, like cutting clothes out of magazines to learn their names and sticking them onto six-fingered ladies (!!!). We’ve learned the words for body parts, food items and jobs, and thought about what we want to be when we grow up. Something tells me Playa del Carmen is going to have a surplus of Veterinarians in about 15 years’ time!

Last week, the volunteers were invited to attend a ‘gratitude day’, an event to show appreciation to the school’s supporters. We were sat at the front near the stage and presented with chilled water bottles and cool towels (it was hot!) while the kids gave speeches and performances. It was all very formal and well-organised, with the school going to great lengths to put on an impressive show.

Even the school Mothers took to the stage for a traditional ribbon dance from the Yucatan, wearing floral Mayan dresses.

It was great to see My Norlevo, the grade three teacher, steal the show as the only male dancer (center). He’s such a good-humoured guy when we take over his classroom every week, so we made sure we gave him lots of hoots and hollers during his performance.

The following Wednesday, our final lesson before summer break, I found myself in his classroom and was lucky enough to be placed with with four gorgeous grade-three girls; Camilla (above), Maria, Ixchel and Valentina, and… Hugo.

As the only boy, Hugo was slightly outnumbered, so I guess his disinterest during the lesson was understandable. I struggled to get him to participate, in stark contrast to the girls who fought over each other to answer the comprehension questions about the story we read. Things changed when I brought out my phone at the end of class however; suddenly Hugo was all eyes and hands as he fought for control of the exciting gadget.

He enjoyed being both in front of and behind the camera, posing for photos as well as trying his hand at photography.

I think he did a pretty good job taking the one above, aside from the light streaming in from behind which couldn’t be helped…

I know teachers shouldn’t have favourites, but these girls are mine, as they provided me with the most enjoyable class I’ve had so far. I had so much fun with them thanks to their enthusiasm, intelligence and humour. At the end of the class they threw a barrage of questions my way in Spanish, “Tiene esposo? Tiene hijos?”(are you married? Do you have kids?) and when I answered “no, solo tengo novio” (no, I just have a boyfriend), they erupted into a fit of embarrassed giggles and flushed cheeks.

When I turned the boyfriend question around on them, I understood that Maria likes a boy but he isn’t her boyfriend, and the other girls are happy being single. Looking around the class, I agreed, the boys were no match for these beautiful, smart girls. Although we were supposed to be speaking English, it was the last class of term so I relished the opportunity to get to know the kids better and practice a little Spanish.

It’s been a wonderful experience to be a part of their lives for the last semester, and I’m looking forward to what the next one will bring.

Find out more about volunteering and donating to the KKIS (Keeping Kids In School) Project on my community page!

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School’s out for Summer! Instagram photo reel — 25 Comments

  1. What a special experience! Kids really can brighten your day. I was teaching English in Thailand and China, so I understand how hard it is not to have favorites. Some kids just make the whole thing worthwhile.
    Jessica J. Hill recently posted..Scams in Jaisalmer IndiaMy Profile

    • I know, it’s like get a LIFE!!! Actually I think thats what I like about doing this – spending time with kids is good meditation, because they are so present in the moment. Maybe you should try it 😉

  2. Thanks for writing about the wonderful experiences you’ve had volunteering for the KKIS Project. It’s great volunteers that make the project so successful. I look forward to meeting you for next year’s sessions. The 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Oviedo Duchenne, will be moving to 5th grade next year and we look forward to moving our volunteers up a couple of grades also.
    Gayle Collins
    KKIS Project Director

  3. Kids can really have a memorable impact on a trip. It’s great that you got to connect with these 4 a little more, even if your were supposed to be speaking English. Sometimes it’s nice to let them relax a little, and like you said, you got to practice some spanish! Which I desperately need to do…

    • Oh me too, I’m terrible! Sometimes I think I’m picking it up a bit and then they speak so fast and Im completely lost! So yes, I need all the practice I can get!!

  4. What a fantastic thing to be involved in Sar! You look really happy in the photos with the kids! Love ya x

  5. So fun, Sarah. Will you be volunteering when school starts again in the fall? I’ve loved seeing the photos of the kids throughout the year. XO
    Kim recently posted..Dear lifeMy Profile

  6. Hola Senorita Sarah, your kids look so adorable and looked like they had so much fun with you and you with them. What a special experience. Volunteering with kids has a special place in my heart as well, it’s not only rewarding but it was how Keith and I met:)
    Marisol recently posted..Canyoning in DominicaMy Profile

  7. great pictures of the kids, it sounds like they’ve enjoyed having you there as much as you’ve enjoyed being there.