Something I seem to forget to write about.
Overall, I’m doing well, although the food/water seems to disagree with me on a weekly basis, making me tired, lightheaded, or some combination thereof. The Miliaria problem is mostly gone, although it seems to threaten to return every now and then.
Teaching is, of course, a struggle. One one hand, it is tremendously satisfying to see any progress; on the other hand, it is exhausting, mostly because I refuse to just teach and then come home and forget about it. My art classes are enjoyable… today, for instance, I taught “the wave” to the third graders, referring both to the sporting event phenomenon (fun to see in action as it moves across the room) and to the oceanic variety: the entire class learned to draw waves in the style of this famous Japanese painting…
…which I tried to draw from memory on the board:
I thought this was a fun way to spend an entire class reinforcing a single vocab word. Last week we did cubism to reinforce shapes.
First thing in the morning I have been teaching English and Math in the vocational school (9th grade with a woodshop emphasis). The students’ math has a stronger start than their English: an initial assessment showed that about half the class could computer the area of a rectangle, and one student even came close to calculating the length of a hypotenuse! English, on the other hand, is the bigger challenge: on the first day, I asked the students to write about themselves. Name school, family, etc. I got back essays ranging from three sentences to one and a half pages, and not a single sentence in the entire lot made any sense. Examples include “my Hello and I am teacher School wor” and “your That as be for Deaf some These have canting is into lake mouse more used was commpisition.” These are examples picked at random, and they are pretty indicative of the overall essay quality. So I’ve started with sentence structure, and even in math class, I spend a lot of time on English, for instance I use the written form of numbers on the board (“one”) rather than the integer form "(“1”), which I need to explain a lot of the time but which will sink in eventually. I also focus on short word problems like “What is half of four?” which I then convert to an equation and then solve, and then give other similar problems to do in their books. They are a good group and I enjoy my time there. Nonetheless there is a wide gap between the students who need the most and least help, and I can definitely do better on that front.
A random note: I walk by this every day— the VSO volunteer who built the woodshop and bought all the tools (!!!) left his name on the wall as his legacy:
I also join the teachers for chai break before lunch, which consists of drinking piping hot tea at the hottest point in the day. I can see the sweat on the men’s shirts (including mine) so I’m not sure why this is so favored. It is also customary to eat about three pieces of white bread, which I do happily.
For lunch I sometimes make something small, like soup or ramen, or I leave the campus to grab a matatu into town. Between lunch and dinner I normally open the library and let kids use the computers, which makes me more tired than any other single thing in the day. Many of the kids have become wise, and they come into the library with urgent looks on their faces,and they insist that all the children in the room must leave to wash their clothes, or drink water, or some other thing, and then after the kids leave the messengers proceed to use the computers until the kids come back, realizing they have been duped. Similarly, the kids have begun lying to their PE teacher, claiming injury in order to come into the library instead. Many boys show me their feet as they enter, supposedly so I can see the cuts (which they all actually have) that supposedly prevent them from running.
For dinner I almost always go into town with a book. By this time the matatus all have their blacklights on any music blasting, so the ride to and from dinner is always amusing. I just finished I Sing the Body Electric! today while eating a cheeseburger, which is not a common meal but not a rare one either. Later in the evening I read educational research online, or if I’m burnt out I watch a movie, and I drink a juice/Sprite mix to stay hydrated. And then I pass out.