Friday, February 02, 2007

Athletics, discipline problems, etc.


We'll start off with funny teaching stories, since everyone likes those. We've been doing athletics this week (which, by the way is exhausting—I've been working from 6:30 AM- 6 PM with a 2 hour lunch/siesta. That works out to 10 hour days, plus lesson planning, marking books, and preparing visual aids. I intend to mark all of the Grade 6 and 7 English and Grade 7 science books this weekend, which will probably work out to 6-8 hours of marking) anyway, there's a small girl who really likes me (her name is Forget-i which means just what it sounds like) and she was wearing a shirt with Ariel on it. I was holding her and she said to one of the other people in KhoeKhoe, "Look, it's Miss Amy."

Oh, also, the younger grades have been having a field day with my skin and hair, which I let them touch and do whatever to, as long as they don't get in my way as I'm recording scores. I'll have 10 or so grade 1-4 girls touching my hair and gently rubbing the hair on my arm. They were really excited about the underside of my arm for some reason. I think because it doesn't have hair and because you can see the blood vessels.

OK, I like my school again. Wednesday was one of my worst days. We got almost nothing done and the kids were just wretched to me. I have never had my own classroom, but on Wednesday they decided that, because of the lack of chairs and desks, myself and another teacher would have to move around to whichever of the other 3 classrooms was empty. This not only caused chaos for me and for the kids, and made it impossible for me to use the visual aids I had made as well as making it difficult to use the chalkboards (having to save things for other teachers), but additionally it made me feel like I was on the kid's territory instead of them on my territory.

I finally went into the library and had a good cry. I just feel so helpless with the grade 7s. I asked them one day why they didn't respect me and one of the better learners said it was because I didn't beat them. Then I (ironically I thought, asked them if they would like me to beat them and they all said "Yes") Anyway, yesterday (Thursday) all 10 of the teachers went into the grade 7 classroom and talked to the learners about their behaviour for about an hour. I might still have to deal with the kids being wretched, but at least I know I have some back up.

I've been trying a system where they can earn points towards a class party for being good, but it's difficult without a steady classroom. They say they have chairs and desks for us, but they're stuck in Otjiwarongo because of the rains. Which brings me to my last bit of good news—looks like we're not in a drought after all, it has rained every day this week, for a grand total of, at minimum, 30 mm of rain. Everything is starting to green up.

Finally, for those keeping track, I finished The Sun Also Rises, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and I started To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and The Call of the Wild by Jack London. I'm still halfway through Macbeth.

That's all from this neck of the savanna.

Hope you all are doing well

Lots of love


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