It was interesting to see the adaptation of La Clase Mágica in the Tabasco context. In Villahermosa the undergraduate students from La Universidad de Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco work within the school structure; they are given the last hour of the day out of two days of the week to work with the 5th and 6th graders. La Clase Mágica’s ideologies create a space that breaks away from educational norms; for the LCM coordinators and Undergraduates having the program within the school structure has been a difficult process. I believe that despite the limitations they encounter with being incorporated into the school they have been able to successfully implement very important aspects of LCM into their adapted version. They make the state curriculum accessible through the activities they create; they truly make it into a magical classroom through the themes they develop every semester. Unlike LCM in Solana Beach where the undergraduates come from various areas of study, the undergraduates from the Tabasco site only come from the Educational Department. In my perspective their passion for education has helped create well structured program where every detail of the activities is well thought out and everything is done to reach a certain goal. Maribel Flores Galicia, a graduate student at UJAT is also part of the team as the coach for the LCM team. Maribel is going on to her second Master's with her extensive training in Ontological Coaching Maribel has been able to help establish the essence of LCM. She has helped develop a non-hierarchical environment and a space of personal development for the children and undergraduates. With her guidance the goal to create a non-hierarchical relationship of amistad where both the children and the undergraduates can learn from each other has flourished. She explains how to interact with the children in order to create a space where the children can feel comfortable and where they can share, make mistakes, and grow.
The trip was both a professional and personal development, it was full of moments in which my U.S. citizenship intersected with my Mexican roots. Language and culture was brought up throughout my trip. The children were amazed by my presence; they wanted to learn English but I wanted to practice my Spanish with them. They were very outgoing children that found enjoyment in each other with the lack of toys available for them.The city had a vibrant local culture. I was able to see Olmec,Mayan, and Aztec original pieces throughout the city, in Museums and an outdoor park. It was amazing to see how knowledgeable the coordinators were about indigenous history and how it is part of the state’s curriculum. My most memorable experience was when I visited an English classroom at the University. Maribel Flores invited me to her English course, this action broke an educational norm in Mexico, Maribel Flores got the courage to voice what she thought would be a beneficial activity for the day. Maribel changed the class’s schedule by provided her own input. The Professor was hesitant at first but allowed me to stay as long as I gave my permission to be interviewed. Letting the students have a say in the classroom setting and changing the schedule is not allowed in their educational system. However, it is one of the foundational ideologies of La Clase Mágica. Interacting with these undergraduates in the English course opened up a different dialogue I have never had; we discussed differences in educational structures and we talked about the current election outcome. It was hard to see how impacted they too were by the election and it was comforting that they thought about the Mexican community in the United States. Having experienced such an intriguing and eye opening conversation sprouted the idea of the possibility of setting up a skype session between the children in Tabasco and the those in Solana, so they too can share ideas with one another.
Written by Laura Santos, La Clase Mágica Program Director