Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's new in Uis

The only thing that is really new around here is that I traded classes with another teacher so instead of 5th grade agriculture I will be teaching 6th grade math, and I couldn’t be more excited. I had to call my field director and have a chat before I changed because it felt like it might be a cop out on my part since 5th grade can be so frustrating and that, honestly, is part of the reason I wanted to switch. But she pointed out that I will be happier, the other teacher will be happier, the 5th graders will probably understand more and the 6th graders will have someone who actually knows the material teaching them, so I’m pretty pumped.
Yesterday was interesting… after school I was reading in my room and the wind slammed my door shut, breaking it and trapping me inside. I climbed out through the window, took apart the lock to no avail, and sent some kids to get my housemate since I didn’t want to leave my room unattended with the window wide open. After sitting in the sun waiting for about 35 minutes, she finally showed up and couldn’t do anything but sent a text message to the principal. Then she left. So I was locked in my room, waiting for help, not knowing if it was coming. I had a bit of a meltdown. Finally after a couple hours it was starting to get dark so I went next door to my neighbor’s house. He is the principal at the high school and we have spoken once, for about 6 seconds. He agreed to come help, climbed in through the window and fixed it, making him my hero forever. After profuse thanks he left and 30 seconds later the principal drove up saying, “oh I thought you might be trapped inside.”
Today was the first athletics practice after school. We divide the whole school, including teachers into two teams- red and blue (go blue!) and the teachers run the practice for their team. “Practice” means they run around and have races, there are no games or sports or anything involved, it’s just sprints. I took over the blue girls practice and taught them how to do a relay race, which they loved and did for about the last half of practice. Then I went and tried to go home only to be followed by a HERD of small children- there must have been at least 20 all fighting to hold my hand and none of whom I knew. They were all even young enough that they didn’t speak English so I had no idea why they were coming with me. When we got to the house I literally had to lock them out until my housemate came home and shooed them away, but when I went out to read 30 minutes later 8 of them came back and played around me on the porch. Needless to say, the whole thing is quite hilarious, I passed another teacher on the way home and all she could say was “what are they doing?” and when I told her I had no idea, just following she couldn’t stop laughing.
Today I was having a conversation with one of my grade 5 learners and was trying to explain why I will only be here for a year, despite the language barrier. I explained about missing my family and said “my life is back there, I need to go back to it” and she looked at me and said “this isn’t your life?” It felt like a wakeup call to the fact that despite settling in this still feels like a dream or a vacation or something and I really do need to start realizing THIS is my life.

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