February 10, 2011

a day in the life: site ed.

I've been on this bizarre kick for the past month or so that involves getting up at 5am. I'm not sure how I've managed to continue to convince myself that this a worthy goal but I have. Initially, I believed that I would start the day off with a nice brisk morning run but the light doesn't break until 6:30 and to run and shower and break the fast wouldn't get me out the door until 8:00am at which point I've missed the 7:30 school assembly (more on this later). Instead I've become fixated on the idea that early mornings build character or happen to be a habit of highly effective people or some other such nonsense. However you cut it, I'm up every morning sometime around 5am.

First stop is a glass of water, a nice cup of coffee and breakfast then it's out the door to school. Breakfast can be anything from a handful of g-nuts (groudnuts...they're like peanuts), a potato/onion/tomato omlette or even mango crepes if the season is right.

The school day starts with the morning assembly attended by the boarding students, staff, and the "teacher on duty." If you want to put that into NGO development-speak that would be all the "stakeholders"). Of course the day scholars rarely bother to come to school for this and most of my teaching colleagues make a point of missing it but I've found a certain zen to the whole thing.

The students are gathered and lectured on a litany of topics that usually center around the main theme that they are lazy and "stubborn.*" Now, there is no shortage of lazy and stubborn students at my school, but the majority of them don't bother to get up and get lectured at 7:30 every morning. Never the less, the lecturers ramble on unabated preaching to the choir and the students patiently listen to messages clearly intended for those not present.

The assembly is only supposed to last for half an hour but quite often the chief admonisher will get a full head of steam and plough on for a good 45 minutes to a full hour causing all the morning classes for the entire school to begin 20, 30, or 40 minutes late. It used to really irritate me (I almost always teach morning classes) but like I said, I've found certain zen to the whole thing.

After going into the staff room and greeting every person there with a hand shake and "good morning" it's off to class. I take attendance every day, more to learn names than anything else, and then start my lesson. Originally, I would let late comers come into the class but now I've set a hard cap at 30 minutes after I start my lesson for admittance.

The hardest part about being teaching is varying your teaching style to reach all the different types of students in the class and keep things interesting. If I'm not careful I find myself getting all college professor-y and lecturing too much making the dry subject of mathematics positively barren to a room full of teenagers. I much prefer to break them into groups and ask them to complete an activity which is submitted to me at the end of class.

For lunch I eat in the staff room (lunch is expected to be provided by the school) with the other teachers. Lunch is usually beans and posho (pounded corn meal) but usually one day a week it's goat instead of beans.

After lunch I head over to the bursor's office. This term I've been working with him to make electronic records of the school fees due by the students. The records have previously been kept in paper ledgers and sorting and tracking which student have paid and which haven't and which have a balance and which don't has been a mess. I've created a rather simple Excel spreadsheet that I'm hoping will be a vast improvement over pen and paper. This is the first term we've worked together so I'm doing most of the data entry. I'm hoping he will appreciate how much easier it is to do these things on the computer and I can tutor him in Excel so he can continue after I leave. Things are going pretty well so far.

I come home around 5pm and if I don't have an extra curricular activity I go for a run around 6pm when the sun has begun to set and the temperature drops. I cook some food when I get back and dink around on the computer or do some reading or prep for tomorrow's classes and then I'm in bed around 9:30 (that 5am start time comes with cost!) and that's that.

*"stubborn" is the preferred, and often only, adjective used to describe anyone or anything that is difficult, non-cooperative, disobediant, or generally bad in any way. It's just one of the little wrinkles of living here that other PCVs appreciate more than anyone back home can understand.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

> pony tail =~ > zen??

p.s. It took me three glances at your new years photo to realize you were naked