Thursday, October 27, 2011
Glorious just barely begins to describe the macaroni and cheese that I am enjoying right now.
Here is a quick catch up:
On October 12th I taught grade 5 English all day. They were in the middle of learning about television so we did a group exercise where they worked together to write an episode of whatever show they like, or they could make up a show. We did this after reviewing genres of shows, and the idea of characters, settings, plot, and resolution. After doing this through both A and B classes I asked them what they wanted to do next… they all voted for a 20 word spelling test!!
On October 13th I gave my first Student Survey to grade 4. It went wonderfully and I have since also given the survey to grades 5 and 6. Now I am inundated with over 100 surveys that are waiting to be entered into excel in order to write this report for PC by Nov. 19th.
On October 14th I taught Grade 3 with Mia, who was visiting the school for what turned out to be an epic assembly. At one point Mia turned to me and said, “This looks like it could be a concert for a boy band.”! That was slightly painful. With the language barrier we had some behavioral issues. I tried to remedy this by handing out cards to each child, asking them to write their names on it. Then we made up some classroom rules. Then if a kid broke any one of the rules, then they got a mark on their paper and would not get a candy the next day. For the most part this actually worked. Then for practical arts we were learning about stop lights, the colors, what they mean and the words. Then we went outside and played red light green light. A very nice end to a trying Friday.
We have been continuing our soccer every week, and it has been going great! A lot of boys still show up but they are learning to play with the girls. Especially when Mia and I play with them. We have also learned that the key to successful soccer practices is to wear the kids out before we let them play a practice game. So we have started doing a full workout session before actually starting practice.
That Monday, the 17th, I decided to try to go to the office even though we had heard rumors of a transportation strike. Well I went, and as soon as I arrive in Manzini (the route to the office is Manzini to Mbabane then a khumbi to the office) MV our Security Officer for PC sent a message saying that there are planned strikes and that we should avoid Mbabane and Manzini, if you are already on route call me ASAP. So I called him and he told me to get to the office immediately and not to spend anytime in the cities. So I did, and then was trapped in the office all day with no food. Then a small group of us got stuck in the city and had a free night at a backpackers called Bombaso’s. That was a nice break, even though I had a sinus infection and had nothing to clean myself, sleep in and no toothbrush. Then on Tuesday we waited around to make sure that nothing was going to happen. Then we walked to the office to double check that nothing was going to happen while we were on route. I got on the khumbi to Manzini and got another call from MV, asking if I could get off before reaching the city because a girl who arrived in Manzini ahead of me was ordered off of the bus due to a transport strike. I couldn’t get off of my bus and when I arrived in the city left the bus rank immediately and waited for MV to get there. When he arrived an hour later, nothing was going on and he just walked us to our khumbis to get home. I got home at 3pm on Tuesday. Talk about worn out!!!
The next day was grade 5 surveys. Then on Thursday there was a Goat Commercialization ceremony at a village near ours where our (Emkhuzweni Primary School) Drum Majorettes were asked to perform because the Queen Mother would be present. On Friday- grade 6 survey.
We have had our second swimming lesson day this past Saturday! Very fun, perfect weather. Except the sun was a little extreme. We got a ride from the hotel –Orion, look it up- to Piggs Peak because it is easier to catch one home from the city, rather than try to catch a one from the hotel. The person who picked (4 of) us up is a head teacher at a near by school, the brother in law of one of my teachers a EPS, and had a connection with a previous PC volunteer who happened to be from Kent State! His name is Dennis Desantis, Musa Shiba has lost contact with him and if you know Dennis please have him contact me. What a small small world :D Then we had some glorious KFC in Piggs Peak waiting for the lady whose school we run the swimming lessons. Then we got to talking, and incorrectly assumed that she would give us a ride home. No such luck. By the time we got to the bus rank the last khumbi heading to Buhleni had already left. So we had to take a khumbi headed to Matsamo, the South Africa border post and get off at a T junction where to get to Buhleni we would turn right. We had quite a task even spotting the junction stop in the dark. Luckily we moved to the front of the khumbi at the right time and asked the driver to let us know when we got to our stop, which was right then. We also asked him if he thought we could catch a khumbi to Buhleni from there. He said he thought so. And it turns out with good reason- he had called the last khumbi going to Buhleni and asked him to wait for us. What a nice guy.
Then early on Sunday we left to go to Manzini where a bunch of volunteers (both group 9 and group 8) were getting together at a….wait for it… PUB! to watch the Rugby world cup. Turns out I really like Rugby. It was such a great time and I got to meet some of the group 8 volunteers that I hadn’t met before.
Recently this week I had a talk with the thishela mkhulu (head teacher) about no longer being available to sub, after another day this week with grade 5 without a lesson plan, blowing in the wind, it was not good for me or the students. Especially, if after we start the new school year in January I want to teach any of my own –planned- classes. Then we talked about what I was thinking about for next year: a life skills lesson 1 day a week for grades 4, 5, 6, and 7; and I said that I could teach 1 English lesson a week for any grades or classes that wanted experience with a native English speaker, and my lesson would in no way be connected to the teacher’s regular curriculum; I also offered to run an alternative disciplinary option for teachers, a detention where students could be sent out of the classroom, or ordered to attend detention during break or after school with me where we would work quietly together.
Ok- that about sums everything up. Sorry if it was kind of boring.
I miss you all so much and think often about seeing you again, even though I still have about 21 months. Speaking of which, anyone is welcome to visit anytime!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!! OCTOBER 19TH I LOVE YOU!!!