Day 21-Wednesday, July 28th

July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Today was a mix of really good and not so great moments at school. I always take my journal and activities book every morning so that I know what I’m doing for each class. My journal has the list of activities/lessons/discussion questions for each grade and as soon as I walked into the entrance of the school I realized that I had forgotten it at home. I started to feel kinda nervous b/c all of my plans that I had laid out were no longer with me. My very 1st class a 9th grade, and that the was the one I was most anxious about those kids felt so closed off last week…but they ended up doing really good today. I played a word game with them, and most of them actually participated! 🙂 I was really impressed with their behavior too. I didn’t have any problems with them talking too much or distracting the other students.
My 7th grade class went really well too. The class has 105 students packed into one room. Most of them sit 3 to a desk/table. Ridiculously cramped! They did so good though. I had originally planned on doing an activity with them too, but then they just started rattling off all kinds of questions for me. I asked them about their weekend and what they did on Monday (we didn’t have school because it was a holiday). So many of them were anxious to share even though English wasn’t perfect. I’m really encouraged b/c they still spoke and were engaged in conversation with me. They asked me about the “kedab” I had painted on my hands (it’s like henna) and I told them about my friends who did it. One boy asked me what my religion was, and I told him that I follow the way of J, and I believe the teachings in the B. He raised his hand again and said, “The B says no tattoos-they’re not good.” And held up his hands like he was confused as to how I could have the kedab on my hands…yeah, he caught me off guard with that one. I reassured him that it was only temporary and that it would wash off in a couple of weeks. I also tried to explain to him a little bit about the Law in the OT and how one of the rules did command the people to keep their body free of tattoos. The I tried to explain to that followers of J are no longer under the L, but we’re under grace and find our freedom in that. It was difficult to try to squeeze in some of the basics of the G in about 1-2 mins. with 104 other pairs of eyes on you. I did my best to help him understand, but I’m not sure how well I did in my explanation. I told him that there were many more important things that I believe to be true about J and that I was open to talking about those with any of them if they wanted. It was an interesting experience, especially in the classroom. I wish I had more time and that the conversation was more personal, but I did my best with what time I had and the direction of our conversation. He was a cool kid.
So yeah, I had an interesting time with my last class of the day too-Grade 4. Usually they’re pretty good, but for some reason they were CRAZY today. They were so talkative and I kinda felt like at any moment they could revolt and take over the classroom. I mean, they were getting up out of their seats, turning around and messing with the kids near them, crawling under their desks to get stuff and chattering away. There’s only so many times I can say “becka” (enough) and “zembelu” (quiet) and have it actually be effective. I even started putting them in the corner and at the front of the class if they couldn’t stop talking. That kinda worked for some of them, but many of them kept on talking…oh well, what are you gonna do. I’m definitely not going to use the kind of physical punishment that the other teachers and people in charge use.
That was the last class of the day, and when the bell rang they all made a mad dash for the door to line up to leave. I went to the front of the line to try to get them to calm down (they were all pushing each other trying to get to the front and getting upset), and I wasn’t paying attention to the students who were scattered across the classroom until one kid said, “Teacher, teacher! They’re fighting!” I looked over and saw a crowd of boys separating 2 other boys who were yelling and pushing each other. I tried to squeeze my way through the crowd of kids at the door to stop the fight, but they pulled away from each other and scattered. I only got to one of the boys, and I think he was the one who was being picked on b/c he was so mad, had tears in his eyes, and looked like he really wanted to get at the other boy. I didn’t even really see who the other one involved was b/c it was a big crowd and they all scattered when they saw me coming.
Man, I felt so horrible. I felt like such a terrible teacher for allowing that to happen-like I can’t even control a classroom and the boys just went at it like that. I know how to handle situations like that in the States; I know how to deal with students and I can at least speak English to them, but here I feel ineffective sometimes. The strategies and tips for Amer. Classrooms don’t really work here. Any form of harsh punishment or discipline that doesn’t include physical contact doesn’t have an effect on them…and I won’t do that. I could never bring myself to do that, no way. But somehow they have to understand that I’m the teacher and respect that. It would be different if I just taught here for a week and saw the classes 1 or 2 times, but I’m here for 4 weeks and I’m with each of these classes multiple times a week. I have to have to maintain some form of authority or else the class would be a wreck-just like the incident today.
So yeah, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond today after the fight-no one got hurt, but the boy that I did see was really upset. I held him by the arms in front of me and asked him if he was okay, if he was hurt, and if he needed anything. He just barely met my eyes, looked away and said he was fine. The he pulled away from me and walked out of the classroom. It was tough…really difficult situation. I knew that if I told the guy in charge then those kids would’ve gotten roasted (and I didn’t even know for sure which other kid was involved). It was hard-definitely a rough way to end the morning.

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