Here I am in week 2 of teaching and almost one month of being in Namibia. To be honest, it is difficult for me to remember not being here. Even being in Windhoek seems like ages ago. As I took my usual evening walk today, through the oshanas and herds of goats and donkeys, I couldn’t help but laugh at how crazy and awesome it is that I am here. I know that sounds cheesy, like I am trying to have a forced “Africa” moment, but it was truly genuine. I’ve always loved solitude but I don’t think I ever really knew solitude until I came here. There’s something incredibly freeing about walking around your neighborhood and greeting everyone you see (since it is only about 4 people) and strolling at the same pace as the giant bulls and donkeys. I’m not going to say it has been all butterflies and roses, but something about the positive moments here outweighs the negatives by like a million. The brilliant sunset can often wash away the frustrations of an unorganized school day.
Ok, here are some more updates on the past week. Teaching has been going well. I must say, it has been hard to let go of some of my Type A, anal, teacher tendencies, but I think overall it is good for me. Having teaching experience has been my savior here, but it also makes you think about all the resources you used to have at your disposal and how they are absolutely not present here. I understand that resources do not equal a perfect education, but they sure do make it a little easier. I think I mentioned this before, but my teaching periods are only 40 minutes. With the rate that I have to speak and the variability in the schedule, it is hard to get much accomplished. I have had to adapt and be more flexible in my planning, while also upholding my basic teaching values (being prepared, being fun, etc). I am sure at the end of this, I will be a much different, and hopefully better, teacher.
I am teaching everyone in the school computers. This is not really my idea of a good time. I am also teaching math (which I LOVE) and wish I had more of those classes! Since I do not (and I am attempting to take the word “wish” out of my vocabulary), I have decided to put my energy into making my computer class fun for both me and the learners. I knew I wanted to teach some of the older students through projects instead of just basic keyboarding/vocabulary skills/etc. I knew that I would not enjoy teaching that and that my distaste for the class would shine through in my teaching. In order to prevent that, I decided to start the year off with a music project I am calling Heart Songs. Most of the kids are really into music (as you all know I am), so I am having them do varying levels of projects on the computer based on their favorite song; a song that touches their soul. Some will be using pictures to create a slideshow to the song, others will be creating a document with their favorite lyrics, and others will be creating pictures that represent the feelings they have when they hear the song. The kids are already pretty into it and so am I. I am just realizing that projects like this take so much more time than they would at home. The cool thing is, projects like these encompass so many skills and allow the kids to practice them in an interesting way. Overall, I am feeling much better about my ICT class and where it is headed.
As I said before, teaching math is awesome. It is definitely my favorite subject to teach. I am teaching grade 7 and they really are awesome. Whenever I call on one of them to answer a question, they stand up to address me and the entire class. It is really adorable. They also stand when I walk into the class and say “Good Morning Miss, how are you?” I never got that kind of treatment in the states J I feel really good about the prep work I did for that class. I put some routines and incentives into place right away and the kids are already really into them. It is definitely my favorite class of the day!
Other than that, kids are still coming to the library door and staring or saying hello and then just standing there. I am trying to be more ok with this, but it is definitely going to take some getting used to. I am sad to report that I have not seen the chicken since Sunday…not quite sure what happened there. I was hoping to have a nice braii on Saturday with some traditional Ovambo chicken that I slaughtered myself. Maybe he is just up a tree…he does enjoy a good tree climb. I will keep you posted.
One last thing…some people have been asking me what kind of supplies they could send over here. Really, anything would help. The one thing I will ask is if anyone has an old digital camera with the computer cable that they are willing to give up. I am hoping to use pictures a lot in my computer class, but it is extremely difficult with only my camera and 300 learners. If you think you have an old one to spare, contact me and we can see about getting it to my mom or sister to send to me!
Thanks again for all the messages, you guys are the bomb.