Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Christmas break was great, but now it is back to reality and responsibilities, hmmph. We have just started our fourth week of school, so that means that now the kids are finally showing up consistently. Which is frustrating because I've been teaching some difficult stuff, especially in SS and the kids that are just now coming are completely lost. I've debated with just doing blow off stuff the first few weeks, but I can't bring myself to do it. Our class time is so limited as it is, and there is so much information to cover for the external exams that I have to teach material, there really isn't any time to waste. Talking about what I'm teaching, I'm currently trying to teach cellular respiration to my SS students. Struggle. I love them though because even though they think I am crazy and talking some weird science language, they are right there with me concentrating so hard and really trying to understand. I might have to explain it a million times, and it will definitely take awhile, but I am confident that they can get it. Regardless, prayers are always appreciated :)

With my JSS kids I'm trying to wrap up ecology with food chains/webs and we are coming into the different cycles (nitrogen, water, calcium etc.). I get a little frustrated sometimes because the JSS are the kids that have to do the work around the school which lately has meant making cement blocks for a stage that they are building. Because of this work they are often pulled out of class when I am teaching, especially one of my classes which is now so far behind. I don't have that many free periods so I haven't been able to make up the lost time. Today they made kids leave school if they had not paid their school fees, effectively ending school for the day because there were only about 5 kids in each class that had actually paid. Instead of getting frustrated with how far behind we were getting, I took all of the JSS 2 kids left (only 12 out of 150) and we went to the library. We actually have some really good lower level science books with lots of pictures and simple explanations of the things that they are learning, so we spent an hour and half just having them read the books and go through the pictures. They would ask me to help whenever they didn't know a word or didn't know what a picture was. It was really fun to try and explain to them how diverse life on Earth is and how even I had never heard of some of the plants and animals that they were asking about. I was really happy because these kids chose to stay and learn when they could have gone home. And it was really great because there were so few of them that we could laugh, be more informal and get to know each other better, all around making a positive experience out of a sucky situation.

I'm planning on meeting up with Cat to go visit Kim up in Rokupur this weekend, which I am really excited about. The Congotown Crew will be reunited! (We all lived next to each other in training in the part of Makeni called Congotown) I've been to Kim's site once, but only for one night, so it will be fun to really see the place. All of our sites and schools are so different, and I love going and visiting friends because then you get to see what they are experiencing everyday, who they talk to and where they go, which is really fun.

Overall today was a good day. After school I was going for a walk with my lapa tied (finally I have mastered how to tie the 2 yards of fabric called a lapa as a skirt without it falling down all the time), my hair braided, sucking an orange (they don't eat the whole thing here, only suck the juice) and greeting everyone in Krio and Limba. I realized that I'm finally starting to fit in here. Yeah I have a long ways to go, but you have to give credit to the good days, and today was definitely one of those.

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