Thursday, February 15, 2007

Athletic day, frustrations, and some Greek (email from Amy)

Kids drumming and dancing in Anker

Last week was the athletic day. It was actually a rather enjoyable day (especially since it meant that I don't have to do athletic training in the afternoon anymore.) I was one of the scorekeepers as usual (I think they only keep me around for my ability to add quickly without errors in my arithmetic.) There was lots of singing and dancing, as well as running. The kids run barefoot on a track whose lines are dug into an empty field. The long jump is simply done into a pit of dug up earth. The only equipment that they use are two metal poles for the high jump with a string held onto them by two kids and a bunch of hostel mattresses on the other side, and the javelin and shotput. Otherwise, it's just bare feet and lungs. Anyway, it was good, although it was also tiring. This week I'm going to go to supervise the kids who made it to the cluster athletics in Kamanjab (they needed a female teacher to supervise and I needed to get out of the village for a bit.) I'm hoping it will go OK.

This was my frustration for the week. On Wednesday I got a copy of the new syllabus for Natural Science and Health Education and, apparently, for the past four weeks I've been teaching what amounts to about 4 pages at the end of the one science book that I have that follows this curriculum. I am extremely frustrated. Many of the topics of the past weeks (especially weather) weren't even covered at all. Plus we haven't had our cluster meeting yet, so I don't even know if I should switch abruptly to a new topic or stick with this one and hope that no one noticed the syllabus changes. If worst comes to worst I think I'll stick with this topic and write my own final exam and refuse to give the kids the cluster exam at the end of the term.

It's really frustrating because I had this term all planned out and it means that most of my lesson plans and activities from last year will be worthless. Plus, we don't have any textbooks that fit the new curriculum and the kids haven't had the new curriculum in grade 6 or 5. Sometimes the Namibian way of doing things makes me want to rip my hair out. Especially frustrating is the fact that I asked about this last year and no one seemed at all concerned. The English syllabus has changed as well, but I never really followed that syllabus closely anyway (it suggested that I have the grade 7s read a short novel- like that would work) and the kids are really tested mostly on their comprehension of English, whereas in science they actually need to know specific facts and topics.

In other news, I've decided to take up Greek again. I've been using some stuff off the internet to revise my Greek (for those of you who don't know, I took 3 semesters in college) which has gotten unforgivably rusty. Also I'm about a quarter of the way through Anna Karinina which I started last year but never finished. I think I'll get through it this time. Other than a few frustrations life's treating me pretty well.

Hope you all are fine. Much love.

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