Teaching at the school is an incredible experience! My french class is senior 1 students (which is grade 7 for us) Most of them are around 13 years old, but they range up to 20 years. There are roughly 60 students in the class (lots of marking!) The students love learning french and are starting to use it outside of class - it took them a while to get used to my teaching style! They are not used to participation, or any activities that involve anything other than listening to lectures. We have been playing games in french, did presentations and even took a step into some group work (which took a while for them to understand) The other students peak through the windows wondering why on earth students in a class are laughing! The students love the warmth and attention - a few of them have taken me back to their homes to meet their families, it was such an honour! So far we have done numbers, greetings and introductions; the other day, they used everything they have learned so far and put it together in a short play. I was able to video one of the groups on my camera which they thought was hilarious!
The english class I teach is for senior 4s (grade 10) The first class I had them take out a piece of paper and write down 5 things they wanted to work on in the class - they thought I was crazy! The older students are just as wonderful and like all kids tried to push my boundaries a little when I first started - they soon learned that they couldn't. I've been able to pull a little goal setting and readings on peace and compassion into the class which has been great. They did a paragraph on their dreams and then a few came to the front of the class to read it out loud. The other teachers were peaking through the office windows to see what was going on!
The students at the school have nothing. I've begun to connect with quite a few and really feel as though I have a handful of children! It is normal for students to leave mid-class due to stomach aches, headaches (there is no water at the school to drink, so we are using funding money to set up a water system), malaria - there are many very sick children! A lot of the children at the school are orphans - many came from Rwanda during the genocide: a lot of the students have missing arms and legs, stab wounds and parts of their bodies that have been burned. They are very inquisitive, gentle and warm. As I make my way through the school grounds in the morning, there is always a path of students to welcome me with "goodmorning madame" The students and teachers are full of love and compassion for each other - you can feel the heart energy when you enter the property.