I am so excited about rain that I had to make a blog update. Just kidding. That’s only half true (yes, that’s how exciting rain is to me now). Since I last updated, which wasn’t that long ago, I’ve had a very interesting and exhausting week. I started teaching the form ones this week, which means my workload went from 4 lessons a week to 20 lessons a week. Needless to say, my body hasn’t adjusted to standing up and talking for so long, so by the end of every day I’m exhausted.
My first day with the form ones was interesting. I went in there, told them what’s what, laid down my rules, and dove right in. The first class I had with them was math. Fortunately, the majority of the stuff in the beginning of the book (such as natural numbers, factors, and lowest common denominators) they actually did in primary school, so we breezed through to integers, which apparently they haven’t seen before. Kenyan ministry of education, if you’re reading this, you need to introduce your students to negative numbers in primary school. I think you’d see their KCSE math scores go up if you did. Anyway, I was very impressed that the students actually listened to me and instead of blurting out answers whenever I asked a question, the students actually raised their hands. Man, is it easier to do things when there aren’t 80 kids yelling out different answers.
Later in the day (like an hour later) I had my first English class. The English book we use is great for homework and stuff because it’s full of exercises, but it’s not very good for planning lessons. So the first day, I took the teacher’s guide’s advice and we did a couple ice breakers. One of the ice breakers was two truths and a lie, only it was one truth, one partial truth, and one lie, which was utterly confusing. Nobody got the partial truth right. I had kids saying “I was born in France” for their partial truths and they considered it right because they were born… it was a learning experience. During this little exercise, I let them get into groups and say their answers out loud to give everyone a chance to share and as I went around the room to make sure everyone understood what they were supposed to be doing one of the groups called me over. So I went over to see what the trouble was, and one of the students said to me, “Madame, can you please teach in Kiswahili because I do not understand English and I feel lost all the time.” I stood there for a minute trying to figure out how serious this kid was, and after I realized he was dead serious, I said “but I do not know enough Kiswahili to teach in it.” Wrong answer. Clearly I was lying, so the kid started to argue with me until I said, “Look, this is an English class. I must teach it in English so that your English skills will get better. It is only the first day. If you try a little harder, you will find that it is not as hard as you think it is.” My favorite part of this conversation: he clearly understood enough English to argue with me.
English class is clearly going to be the focus of this blog in the future because all my good stories for the week come from English. Yesterday I was teaching the students about nouns and there was an exercise in the textbook that asked the students to look around the classroom and name five proper nouns that they saw, twelve common nouns, and two collective nouns. They got the proper nouns part right because all they had to do was name five students. Now, there are two kinds of common nouns: concrete and abstract. The concrete nouns are things like chair, table, book, shoe. Abstract nouns are things like happiness, anger, corruption, etc. So when I asked the kids to name twelve common nouns that they saw in the classroom, here are the responses I got: happiness, joy, harmony, anger, sadness, corruption, love and some other abstract nouns. Halfway through, I tried to tell them that I was look for things like desk and chair, but they kept throwing emotions at me. I guess we were feeling very bipolar yesterday. And then when I asked for the two collective nouns that they saw in the room, the first answer I got was “gang of thieves.” Really? We have a gang of thieves in the room? This is normal. It was weird.
So that was my week (excluding Friday obviously). I am so exhausted. I want to sleep for a week. But alas, I’ll have to settle for Saturday and Sunday. Until next time.