I do think teachers have more work than students (though some students may disagree with me =). All the planning and marking takes a lot of time and teaching itself requires a surprising amount of energy! This past week was my first full week of classes, which coincided with a full week of athletics and a bad cold, so it was pretty crazy. Dylan had it worse, if anything, with extra classes after school and then athletics!
Athletics, I should remind you, is basically mandatory track and field for the whole school. Minus the field part since we have no equipment. While I support the idea of getting the kids to be active and be involved in something after school, I don’t really agree with making them all run laps and sprints around a dirt track for two hours in mid-day Namibian heat. Especially when I have to do it with them, as one of the few teachers who is capable of running more than a few hundred meters. On the bright side, this has earned me a reputation for being very athletic, which I don’t think I’ve ever had before. =) And I got to work on my tan. And it’s a short season – next week we’ll have our school competition and that’ll be the end of athletics for the term.
As for classes, I’m continuing to teach the three English classes I had last year who are now in 9th grade, as well as a new 8thgrade class which is also my register (homeroom) class. I didn’t have a register class last year, and it comes with a lot more responsibilities, like being in charge of their report cards and collecting school fees and such. On the other hand, it theoretically gives me a chance to really get to know the kids. We have an hour long register period every day, so as long as I’m not in a meeting (unlike every day last week), I spend that hour with my kids.
When we started the year we were in a bit of a panic because we were told that all the eighth and ninth grade classes were going to have 40+ kids. Originally there were supposed to be 43 in my register class! Fortunately these claims turned out to be an exaggeration in most cases – my classes actually range from 25 to 39 learners. It’s amazing how much more I can get done with the class of 25!
Although it still seems to me like we have a long time left here (10 months!), from the first day of school people were asking me when I was leaving, telling me they’d miss me, or asking if I would extend to stay another year. It does feel different to be on this side of our Christmas holiday – now we’re experiencing lasts. Last first day of school, last athletics training, last rainy season, etc. And it’s already February! I think the year will go very quickly.
We have some prayer requests looking at the year ahead – so grateful we have so many praying friends & family! First, pray for the kid we’re teaching. They’re the ones we interact with most and whose lives we may be changing or influencing without even knowing it. Especially my register class kids – pray that anyone who is in need will feel able to ask me for help or advice and that I’d know what to do or say next! I want to be able to love these kids and be a role model for them.
Second, pray that we’d find ways to work with our Namibian counterparts. I know I’ve requested this before, but somehow it never gets easier. This year it’s more important than ever that we work cooperatively with people who will be here after we’re gone, or else many of the things that we put a lot of work into starting and running may fall apart as soon as we go. In particular, Reading Club for me and Additional Mathematics for Dylan. These are both things that require a teacher to commit extra time outside of their normal work, which most Namibian teachers are not willing to do. Also, all our learners will be taught by Namibians next year for their all-important 10thgrade exams, and they’ll have a better chance if we have been working with the Namibian teachers so everyone’s on the same page.
I guess the obvious request is to pray for whatever we’re doing next, but that seems so far away still. For now, we want to stay focused on being here and teaching and building the relationships we’ve begun in the past year. We don’t want to check out too early by dreaming of where we could be in 2014, though it’s tempting. So pray that we’ll make the most of this opportunity to be where we are, as it’ll probably never come again.
Thanks for following along and happy February!