Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sad about Happy. Oh, the irony!

Today was another regular day in the struggle to discover just how to teach these students. It didn’t go bad, but its never to the caliber that I’d love. I got observed for the first time, which was nerve racking for, oh, a whole 5 minutes when I just came to terms to the fact that it is what it is. Class goes so slowly with me having to write out everything on the chalkboard and stop and wait for the 70+ students to be quiet. Today, I actually had the class monitor count and it was definitely over 70 students. With 2-3 per desk. Yeah. So that’s Tanzania. My feedback was really good, but it makes me wonder more about what I can really improve on. Since it was almost all positive except for the fact that I translated the names of some of the first aid items into Kiswahili and didn’t clarify that they CAN’T answer using these names on the test. I think that tomorrow, I’m going to give a little pop quiz just to see where they are in terms of actually grasping the knowledge. I have 85% of the students copying down all my words from the board into their notebooks, but I want to know if they actually remember any of it or understand any of it. As for the things that my observer, Ramadhan, liked, he said that I did a good job of 1) planning out the lesson 2) having the students participate 3)not discouraging students who gave the wrong answer 4) encouraging student based learning by asking them the questions about what I would be teaching them before I told them the answer, that way they have to think about it 5) speaking slowly and returning to speaking slowly when I speed up 6) being strict and establishing a clear student/teacher relationship. I was glad he said the last one, because I really make sure with the Form 1’s that I come in looking serious and not putting up with crap because they are the least disciplined of my classes. Today I even made 2 of the students sit outside the classroom for 5 minutes when they would not stop talking. That’s really the extent of my punishments though. Stern looks are my key tool. Shocking.
Currently I’m quite sad because Happy is leaving on Wednesday to go back to university. Not only is she my wonderful English speaker in the house, but she’s also become a great friend. She picked up on my American sarcasm amazingly fast and threw me for loops with her sarcastic remarks. She’s really smart and fluent in English, with a super sassy attitude that helps keep my own in check. It’s awesome. Aside from being really funny and energetic, she is insanely hardworking. She does most of the cleaning and cooking around the house (Mom, don’t get any ideas….:) ), washes the family’s laundry by hand and often goes to the butcher and such for food. She taught me how to cook ugali, mchicha and ndizi, the only things that I really know how to cook so far. (Oh boy, I don’t really want to think about how I’m going to survive at site!!!) And, usually when I have a question, need something translated, or just can’t figure out which the drink-able water is, I ask her. I’m going to be so lost without her. I’d love to come visit her, but I’m not sure if I’ll find the time (or figure out exactly where she studies).

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