There it went. Two years of teaching “Creative Arts” has officially come to a close. It’s a melancholy feeling, and it’s only amplified by the circumstances.
The way my schedule works, I teach both Classes 2 and 3 on Thursday, one after the other, before lunch. Today, the Class 3 classroom was being painted courtesy of a local bank, so all the students from both classes were crammed into the Class 2 classroom. I walked in, ready to teach Class 2 for the last time, and there were all my students from both classes, thrilled to be stuck together, in a room that had just been painted the day before, just glowing white from all sides! They shrieked and hollered and we all played vocabulary bingo together… a common event for each class, but never before together as one big group. We played to the end: that is, until every last student had “won,” so that everyone got a prize. This was easy to do, since class length was doubled due to the painting. It was quite a ruckus, and normally I would have done some hushing, but since this was my last formal “class” with them, I tired to just revel in it: the hooting and whooping and laughing, and the pride that I feel in their ability to fingerspell, something that I have focused on for quite some time with bingo. I didn’t want to take pictures throughout the class, which would just be distracting, so I just focused on individual moments and told myself, remember this.
The kids using rocks as bingo markers. The same rocks they threw at each other on my first day in the classroom.
The ridiculous dances they do when they get a point.
The howls I hear when I trick them into thinking I’m doing the sign for scissors (similar to a peace sign), but then I twist it around at the last minute and so the sign for fork (using the peace peace sign to stab food on a plate, and eat it).
These are things I don’t want to forget, so I tried to stretch them out today, make them last just a little longer by focusing on their details.
And then I took an actual picture at the end, of course.
We finished a bit earlier than usual, with not enough time left for another full game, so I set up a few kids with cards to play slapjack, and just milled around with the other kids, fixing the pirate-themed party hats that I had given away as prizes, and which promptly broke in their destructive little hands. The kids asked if I would be back in class on Monday, but I had to explain that this was the last week of classes, so no, although I’d still be around and still be around until their parents come to pick them up. I saw some sad faces, especially on my favorite students. A sad face due to my absence is flattering, but mostly, just sad.
Tomorrow will be my last formal day of teaching in the vocational school, and it will likely just be business as usual; we’ll just read books for an hour and ten minutes, as we’ve been doing this entire term. Next week I’ll be out of town for the Nairobi Project, which is scheduled to come to a close, at which point I will write about it in greater detail. The week after, I’ll be back in Mombasa to give a final exam to my vocational students, and then that’s it. Finished.
I won’t be saying goodbye to my students for another few weeks, when their parents will come to the school to pick them up, so it’s a bit early to get all caught up in the emotions of the whole thing, but I think there’s something about the formality of classes ending that brings it out. Also, the fact that it was raining, unusual for this season, probably only served to exacerbate the whole thing.
Well, perhaps I make it sound like it was a room full of sad faces, which is not the case, since it was really just me, so here’s a picture to show the kids in the class last time: