Saturday, September 06, 2008

to fast for me!

So, the semester is half way over already!!! I feel like it has just begun, but here I find myself in the middle of proctoring exams, marking exams and seeing my Form 4 students about to embark on life(as soon as they have taken their exams) This semester has had its usual problems and frusterations, but I’d say either 1) I’m becoming more and more accustomed to them or 2) I am now a Tanzanian and they don’t faze me. J On the up side of things, the headmaster and I have teamed up together and thigns around school have changed a little! 40 desks and chairs were provided by donors(and finished JUST IN TIME to take exams!), the 6 new classrooms are ALMOST ready….they just need glass in the windows and a chalkboard, and we have had 3 teachers that went away for further studies, come back on their breaks to help us teach. The form 2 students are now taking their “mock” national exams(the real exam starts in November) while form 1 and 3 are taking their mid term exams….I stole an idea from a private school nearby-because we have a lack of desks and chairs and teachers to invigilate the exam, 2 teachers and I organized 9 classrooms, each with about 50 students in it, that combined both the from 1 and 3 students…so everyother desk(form 1, form 3, form 1, form 3…). This(we are hoping) will help to reduce the cheating that regularly happens during exams. Who will they cheat form? WE hauled in huge wodden tables from the cafeteria along with benches so those without a desk could sit all along the bench to take their exams…and if I do say so, its working SO WELL! I’m so happy that my teachers tried something new and different(and I think they really liked the idea-maybe enough to do it again next year!) We printed out the exams of form three, but because there wasn’t enough paper at school, we had to write the form 1 exam on the board…but I’m still over joyed at the progress we have made from last midterm test to this one!!!! I’ve just now counted-I have about 20 teaching days left! We finish exams on Tuesday, I teach wed thursday and Friday(the other students will be “doing cleanliness” around the school…why? Not sure.That’s what we do when we finish exams these days? Then we have a one week break(in which I’m FORCING my students to stay to I can finish the syllabus before the end of my service) then we spend one week preparing for Form 4 graduation….then 3 weeks left, then, if all goes well, I will take my students to climb Kili!!!

We are holding this competition to choose the top 12 students that we will take with us up the mountainJ first, I asked all the teachers to contribute the names of all the students they thought demonstrated good leadership, positive and respectful attitudes, as well as respected by their peers….The list gave me 45ish names to start from. I then told all of them that if they were interested in climbing, they would have to write an essay in English on their goals of climbing and how they would support their peers(which some were VERY cute, and others really bad!) one reads: “ I hear that if you climb from down to up that you will get a blood from your nose. I want to climb Kili to see if this is true”. Then, on Saturday morning, we met at 6am for what I like to call the “Death March”…where we walked 2.5 hours around the area. I guess I forgot that most of my students live fairly far away, so this didn’t faze them one bit. So THIS Saturday, we ran 5 minutes, walked 5 minutes, ran 5 minutes walked 5 minutes for TWO HOURS along the highlands(meaning there were a LOT of hills!). We met at 6am, all with little backpacks and bottles of waters in the bags, formed to colums and plodded along, practicing drinking water every 30 minutes. My dogs ran righ along side us-and the converstation was great! All the kids asking funny and weird questions like “Are there Forests in America?” “I heard(pronounced Heerd) about a snake called Anaconda. Is this a really snake? “ I had a blanst(although it really seemed that we ran UP every hill and walked down the hill…) Got back toschool and led the students to do pushups and situps, which I think has to be my favorite form of entertainment these days. I don’t think that any student here has EVER done a situp in their life. Their legs are flailing, their coordination is completely off…..BUT, they are trying SO hard!!! Its crazy to me to think that these kids, who are amazingly great and hard workers, can work magic with a hoe, can’t do a sit up!!! I’ll try to post a picture next time…. Each Saturday, the students that didn’t show up were crossed of the list, so now, I’m down to 26 students to choose from…and they are ALL such great candidates! I have no idea how I am to choose! Maybe I’ll have to think of some 2nd prize…..

Hope all is well, from the Fontline, we send our love!