School Day #1

Friday May 6, 2011.

First day in the schools. Done. THANK GOODNESS. What a day. First we walked to school which was fine besides crossing the road where I thought we were going to die several times. First we got there and I don’t think they were expecting us. We sat around in the teacher’s lounge for about twenty minutes before being greeted by the headmaster. After that we signed in and then sat in his office for about twenty minutes. We introduced ourselves and that we wanted to teach mathematics. I think he was a little disappointed that we only wanted to teach math. I’m going to be teaching form 2 which is equivalent to the tenth grade. Form 2 only meets Monday-Wednesday from 8-9:20am. What am I going to do the rest of the day you ask? I’m thinking I’ll visit Zack and Emily’s classes for the times we can and then on Thursday when none of us teach we’re going to go over to the elementary school and help in standards 7 or 8 I think.

We got a tour of the school, which was alright. There are only 4 classes; 1 of each form. We were then brought back to the teacher’s lounge where we sat around again. After a bit they brought us a student book and notebook. It took a while but I was able to sift through the book and find out where they were. I was really surprised to see that they were only on chapter 4. And just my luck chapter 4 is logarithms – by hand. There are no calculators so the notation is a little wonky. We would write the log of a number less than one as negative whatever. They write it instead as a two part number: the characteristic and the mantissa. The characteristic is the number before the decimal and the mantissa is the decimal part. If the number is -4.256 it’s actually .256 – 4. I could not figure this out in the slightest. I asked the headmaster and he was able to help me with it. The books are all incorrect. Always. Simple subtraction problems were incorrect, so that didn’t help my confusion either.

The school was a lot different than I expected. The students were much more unruly than expected. The classroom I observed today had a lot of interaction, which was pretty surprising. The lesson was about why African resistance failed during colonization. The teacher was really energetic and interactive. He asked me questions and involved me in the discussion which was cool even though I know nothing about African history. The students were all really interested in my responses. Whenever he asked me for my input or to repeat a word in Swahili the kids were silent. The teachers were all really friendly and excited to see us and ask us many many questions about America. Life in America, education in America, politics in America. They wanted to know our opinions on everything and how everything worked.

Overall I’m really excited for teaching on Monday. I have a lot of work to do.

Love you and miss you!

Love, Cassie

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~ by Cassie.Becker on May 6, 2011.

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