Today was incredible. I arrived at school and after a prayer in the staff room (which was actually quite calming, it was all about how we can’t know the future but the only way we can make it good is to be positive and proactive) I was introduced to the students. They line up every morning by gender and grade in the courtyard of the school and range from tiny (adorable!) pre-kindergarten learners to grade 7. Then the students sang a welcome song and a prayer in their traditional language (yes I’m still ignorant of what it is, people speak something else pronounced kweekweecongo which I will never be able to learn because it has four different click sounds in it) and as they swayed and stomped the rhythm and sang I had another “Oh my gosh, I’m in Africa” moment.
It turns out I will most likely be teaching 5th and 6th grade science, 5th and 7th grade art, religion, and basic information sciences (BIS means computers here although my school doesn’t have any computers yet so I’m interested to see how this turns out…). I spent from 7 to 10 with the 6th graders and I think I connected with them very well. I did a ‘grab bag’ activity where they pull objects out of a bag to learn about me and we played a game to get to know them too. We created rules for the classroom and outlined suitable punishments (more on that in a moment). I was so excited after the first three hours that during my break I sent a message to a friend saying “I love teaching!” it felt like such a good first day but I might have spoken too soon…I did the same activities with the 5th graders next and there were many more learners in that grade and they were a little out of control. We had to cut one of the games short and it took a lot more energy to deal with them.
The seventh graders redeemed my day with the last few hours of classes, though. They got really into the activities I had them do and after we agreed on classroom rules and consequences I had them write it on the first page of their notebooks and make it a contract by adding “I understand and agree to these rules and accept the consequences for breaking them” and having both them and I sign it. They took it very seriously, which I hope bodes well for the year and they were all very eager to talk to me after class (“do you know beyonce?”)
My coworkers are an interesting bunch, definitely the main source of anxiety for me today, but I will write more about them later on when I know more about them and hopefully when my principal gets back and can actually tell me what’s going on.
Alright well that’s enough about the first day although there is one more post coming, I just feel like this is an adequate summary of classes!