It’s been a pretty busy week since my last post, so I’ll do my best to recap.
I have officially started my placement at the Ngateu Secondary School and have been helping out in some of the math classes. Ngateu has two math teachers and they each also teach another subject (one teaches Chemistry and the other teaches Physics).
I have been working with both of them, sometimes co-teaching and sometimes teaching on my own. I even got to bring my now patented Adding and Subtracting Integers lesson (featuring “Same Change Change” from the original Mrs. Long!) to a Form 2 (grade 9) class. It’s been an interesting experience because in some ways it’s similar to teaching in Namibia but in others it’s very different. First of all, the student’s English skills are lower than those of my Namibian learners, which is a challenge. Additionally, I’m not there for very long (in fact, due to the delayed start and their schedule, I’ll only be there about 9 days) so I don’t have time to get them used to a radically new style of teaching/learning. I’m doing my best to more or less follow what they’re used to and just put a bit more emphasis on conceptual understanding instead of rote memorization. I’m lucky that one of the teachers I’m working with really does seem to be trying to get his students to think more than the traditional schooling system here requires. He has lots of energy and a good rapport with the students. I got to see one
of his Chemistry classes and the kids were working on an experiment to see how temperature affected the rate of chemical reactions. It was cool to see the kids working together and communicating (even though they were speaking Swahili so I couldn’t understand them) and using their critical thinking skills. Contrast this with another class I saw where the teacher spent the first 30 minutes of a 40 minute lesson silently writing notes on the board while the students silently copied them down. I’m sure almost none of them knew what they were actually copying. He then proceeded to read through the notes they had just written, adding only marginal explanations as he went. The lunch bell rang when he was only part way through and the kids sat obediently in their seats for another 20 minutes while he finished. While a very small part of me was jealous at how well behaved they were, most of me was screaming on the inside, knowing that this is exactly the opposite of what good learning looks like. In the whole hour or so I was there, the only words I heard out of students’ mouths were a few
responding ‘yes’ when the teacher asked “are you with me?” (I get the feeling that responding ‘no’ isn’t really an option). Seeing this made me more determined than ever to dive headfirst into ChangeMakers next year and see what our kids can do when we give them the freedom and license to think outside the box and use their brains in ways they’ve never been asked to before.
|A Form 4 (juniors) math class.|
Ok, enough about school. Now for some other updates. Most evenings are spent hanging out at the hostel with the other volunteers either watching movies or playing cards. On Friday though, a bunch of us went out dancing which was really fun. Saturday morning I woke up and went to a yoga class with Tizia (the woman who co-owns the hostel with her husband) and another volunteer. It felt really good to stretch a bit and reminded me that I should start doing yoga at home again too. Later in the afternoon we went to a lodge down the street that caters to a large mzungu (read “white”) population going on safaris. You can get a pass to use their pool for the day, so a few of us headed there to lounge in the sun and take a dip in the
pool. It’s absolutely gorgeous and the towels are particularly luxurious. Sunday we went to a brand new mall outside of Arusha to see the Incredibles 2 at the cinema and get a bite to eat. We explored the mall for a bit and then sat down at a table outside a pizza place. All of a sudden about 7 people descended on us giving us menus from all the different restaurants. It was super overwhelming but really funny. It was cool that we could all order from different places though!
Now I am relaxing with other Jamie and Liselot at a different lodge that we checked out today (the schedule at the school has no math classes on Wednesdays and Fridays, so they said it didn’t make sense for me to come). It’s unfortunatly cloudy and cool, so we aren’t using the pool today, but we are relaxing outside by the river and have heard that the food here is amazing…
Tomorrow a few of us are departing on a four day safari to the Serengeti, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro Crater! I wasn’t planning on doing a safari here since they’re a bit expensive and I did one in Namibia, but the Serengeti is supposed to be the epitome of an African safari and I figured I couldn’t be this close and not do one. Therefore it didn’t take too much for the group to convince me to join them.
I don’t know what the service will be like out there, so I’ll update the blog when I get back. Fingers crossed that I have some fun stories and amazing photos to share!
Here are some other photos from the last week.
Here are some other photos from the last week.
|A view from my work|
|Turns out school buses are yellow here too!|
|We saw this in the mall— a portable toilet seat for your safari!|
|Also at Rivertrees: a river and some trees|
Till next time!