Day one of teaching in the bag. It was...interesting. I definitely was ambitious for what could be done in one hour but better to be over prepared I'd say. Introduction classes are always kind of lame and there is almost no way around it. Learning rules and class outlines is dry stuff.
I started with an icebreaker to get everyone speaking which is always a struggle. I had everyone go around and say their name and something about themselves. This was just about the level of English most of the learner's could handle. Most people liked reading, writing, drawing, soccer or netball. My favorite response by far was "I like clouds", it was refreshing to get a unique answer.
Right after the last introduction as I was about to move on to the guts of the class, a bat flew right at my head. You read that right, a bat flew at me. I have certainly been aware that bats are pretty common in the village. I am sure there is a bat or two living in most peoples homes. I have only heard them and had never seen one and was certainly not expecting to be challenged. Having 48 pairs of eyes on me had put me into a state of hyper vigilance though so I was able to evade with lightning reflexes. Time slowed down and I could see its red eyes and glistening fangs, I could feel its shrill cries bouncing off my body. It was thirsty for human blood, my human blood that I keep in my neck and other parts of my body. If it wasn't that then it was probably just frightened, lost, and confused. Unfortunately we will never know the truth. Immediately afterward I looked around just to get acknowledgment that indeed a bat flew at me. Total blank stares and silence. I must have really put those kids into a coma that they didn't even react to a bat attack. To be fair, there were a few excited learners. One girl wanted to respond to everything I said but did not yet have a firm grasp of English so she would just say "yes" to everything. "Yes" was the reply to both "how are you" and "what does reward mean", at least she is trying, I am certain I sound the same way in Setswana.
The rest of the class time was me trying to get everyone to agree on the rules of the class along with the explanation of rewards and consequences. Ideally, the books say (Teaching for Dummies), the class is supposed to agree on the rules together but there was not a lot of feedback. Not only is English only somewhat grasped by most of the learners, my accent adds another layer of difficulty. So I basically went through it myself, better than nothing I suppose. The big idea for this term was a ticket economy, were I give out tickets for good behavior and work and then at the end of the term an auction is held for prizes. It worked for me in elementary school so I thought I would give it a shot.
My favorite part of the class was certainly the end when I handed out the science books. Directly after the class is a short reading period, which in the past was often skipped, but I will be monitoring this year. I was happy to see that without any prompting almost everyone plunged right into the book. I realize it was not a burning passion for science facts but just a need to have some form of engagement or entertainment and to fulfill their curiosity which after is the real driving force in science.
Tomorrow I will be doing the same thing but in my other school. I have a feeling it will go much the same. As I said, first days are just kind of lame and logistics just need to be taken care of but it is an important part of getting everyone on the same page.
The day ended with a most excellent rain shower. I have always enjoyed the rain but now it is also a relief from the heat. I think I would be OK with a rain shower everyday in the evening if it meant the temperature I have now.