Saturday, November 18, 2006

Grade 7 exams, a movie, and a baby spider (email from Amy)

Well, the exams have started and I am up, as someone I know and love might say, to my earballs in marking work. 17 of my kids, exactly half, failed the grade 7 science exam. I keep hoping that I forgot to mark a section, or that the multiple choice questions were supposed to be 2 points apiece or something. It was especially disappointing because right after the exam they told me that it was a very easy exam, which puffed me up. It was out of 100: the average was 29.3 and the highest score was 56. Passing is 30%. I haven't worked out all of the other marks, but I think about 6 or 7 of the 17 who failed have gotten high enough marks at other times to still pass the class. There are about 9 or 10, though, who don't have much of a chance, even if their other marks were OK (the final exam counts for half of your total marks for the year.) The big problem is the English. They simply do not have the English skills to properly read the instructions. I just hope it's not because I'm a bad teacher.

I showed some of the kids a movie. I told them that if they brought in a library book that hadn''t been returned they would get to see a movie, so I showed them Beauty and the Beast. I think I'll do it again next Friday too. My favourite part was watching them watch the movie. There was one girl-Garoldine- who showed every emotion, hitting her head when something went wrong, gasping, and clapping her hands and laughing. There were some older boys--Erastus and Sedney who are in sixth grade and about 14 or 15--and I literally saw them crying at the end of the movie. I wonder if maybe it's a way they can get out their emotions. Erastus was especially upset. He is an orphan--both parents dead--and he lives with his aunt and uncle. I wonder if maybe he can cry if it's about a movie. Anyway, they were all overjoyed with ending,
so it was OK. I also liked listening them explain things to each other in KhoeKhoe.

On Friday I was going to do some work in the library. I changed out of my nice work clothes and into a pair of pants and then I took a dirty shirt out of the dirty laundry pile (no point in getting a clean shirt all dusty.) After I put it on I felt a small something crawling around. It was a baby spider like the kind in the library--those kind are moderately poisonous (it was about the size of a nickel.) I had heard of people who had been bitten by scorpions or spiders that had crawled into their clothes. Now, when a moderately poisonous baby spider is crawling around under your shirt, the first thing you think is "GET IT OFF ME!!!" but then you come to your senses and realize that the last thing you want to do is take that shirt off and possible trap or crush that spider and make it bite you. Anyway, after a series of dancing, shaking steps, I managed to shake it out of my sleeve and kill it with my sandal. No more wearing dirty laundry off the floor for me.

That's about it since last time. I've started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It's pretty good.

OK, take care.

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