Today I was intending to travel to a school a few villages over for a formal assessment moderation. Basically the high ups of the school circuit and district wanted an idea of how various classes were doing in these parts. To that end, they requested the 6th grade natural sciences teacher at both the village's primary schools, which is me, to bring along the teacher file and some learner workbooks. The teacher file is the plan for the class and the workbook is a collection of all the assignments and notes the learner has done. This all sounds quite simple but the department of education manages to make it utterly confusing to most educators, at least in my experience. In fact today I had a request to clear up an issue about what exactly the department wants and I couldnt really say, which means I have another side project to mess around with later. Anyway, I was all ready to go this morning but was informed that the meeting would be postponed until further notice. This was of course frustrating because I had to organise to miss class and set up plans for the next day which now was wasted effort. On top of that I was going to visit my friends afterwords and apparently I missed out on having biscuits and gravy and ham and cheese eggs for dinner. Not only is breakfast for dinner (brinner) a simple pleasure of mind, it happens to be gourmet food prepared by caring cooks, especially compared to my standard dinners.
I was also upset because I wanted to see how the moderation went. There was a minor kerfuffle between me and some of the educators during my preparation for the event. The moderation called for a sample of workbooks from the class that is represetative of the whole group. So I ran a lottery and got a random assortment of students. I felt that this was appropriate since it resulted in a selection of a couple of very nicely maintained and organized notebooks, some average notebooks and some notebooks that are messy and incomplete. When some of the other educators saw the notebooks I was bringing they insisted that I choose notebooks from the best students, in other words the nicest notebooks. I disagreed emphatically saying it would be a waste of time to present a view of the class that is skewed. They warned me that I would have to explain the poor condition of some notebooks which I found somewhat suprising since I would figure that the department wouldnt be that clueless to think every student is getting an "A" especially since they already see the test scores from the schools. I argued that if they really want to see how learners are doing then we should let them see it rather than put on a show. I did not convince the teachers but they say they understood my point. My hope is that when the moderation does take place it doesnt turn out to be a disappointment.
Perhaps the educators are afraid to show the work of students who are clearly not grasping the information for fear of losing their jobs. If that is the case, then I am in a special position since I will only be teaching for this year and Im not paid by the department or at all for that matter. So as Uncle Naph would say I must be free.
I ended up staying a little later than normal at school today. The sun was going down and I wanted to make it home before total darkness. A couple of times I have been wrapped up and left too late and had to make my way in the dark. Without any moonlight it can be challenging to say the least. In any case I was leaving and stopped to say farewell to one of the teachers to which she replied "oh well arent you afraid of walking home". I asked her, "should I be" and she said it was just that I didnt know my way around. This was absurd since I probably walk the route between the sections of my village as much as anyone else if not more. I also have a feeling she wasnt worried about theft or assault since that really is not an issue here. I am guessing she was talking about witches or some other form of the supernatural. I dont run into it that often but it shows up every now and then. I have in the past dealt with it very lightly whereas at home I would be a bit more aggressive. I didnt push the issue this time either since I did want to get going. Her mentioning it was still unsettling even though I was not scared of being attacked by witches, it is like telling someone not to think of an orange- it was an uncontrollable reaction. I have decided to deal with this case like I plan to deal with the case of the learners notebooks, I will lead by example. In the futre, Ill leave after dark. I just have to bring a flashlight.