We started the first day off with an assembly where the pass rates for each class were announced. In 8th grade, 91 learners out of 250 passed term one. Depressing start to the term in my opinion, but totally normal here.
I was really relieved to find out that I still knew most of my learners’ names – or as many as I ever knew in the first place. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the names I’m working with. Try to pronounce these – and for added fun try to guess whether they’re girls or boys!
Penehato Lisias Kakunawa Sirrka
Kaapangelwa Rekenata Gamariel Natangue
Tuhafeni Tandeus Teopolina Tukuna
Aroncia Aune Kapango Ndara
Then there are the duplicate names – Peter I, Peter N, Peter S, Paulina I, Paulina G, and Paulina S. are all in one class. And these are just in my English classes. The four additional ICT classes present a whole other range of syllables!
Dylan and I are both glad to be teaching again. I’m really amazed how much I enjoy it considering how much I was dreading it before I started! It’s really good to see the learners again and be coming up with new and improved lesson plans. I’ve jumped into Reading Club already, hoping to make it something like the Accelerated Reader program in the States, where kids read books and take quizzes on them in order to gain points. Dylan is in charge of Opawa’s SpellQuizBee team, who are in a regional competition that will take place this Saturday. We’ve both been putting in a lot of extra hours after school and I think we’re feeling the stress of going from vacation days to full school days. But, like I said, we’re enjoying it too!
Outside of school we still have church activities and we’re both trying to run more regularly in preparation for the Swakopmund marathon taking place in October! It’s much easier to run now that it’s cooler in the evenings, although when we come home from school exhausted, sometimes it’s hard to get up the energy to go out again. The weather here still amazes me – there’s probably a 50 degree difference in the temperature between 5am and 1pm. I go to school wearing long sleeves and a scarf and come home sweating in short sleeves (any future volunteers reading this, take note and bring layers!)!
We’ve also been baking prolifically. I’ve learned how to make bagels and my own loaves of sandwich bread. Muffins and sweet breads are always good to have for breakfast when we’re up super early in the morning, so we’ve gone through a lot of pumpkin and bananas for that. Dylan’s back to doing Fun Friday with his learners, which means any learner who behaves and does their work during the week gets a cookie on Friday. So that’s about 180 cookies that get made at our house every Thursday. Thank goodness our gas oven is holding up so far!
My biggest prayer request would be for continued opportunities to work WITH other teachers at school – discussing lesson plans, teaching methods, worksheets, classroom management, anything. It’s so easy to get caught up in my own plans and classes that I forget I’m also supposed to be building the capacity of the teachers who will be here long after I’m gone. Of course, that’s also hard to do when I’m still trying to figure out how to be a teacher myself! It’s a good thing we still have another year after this. =)
I hope you all are enjoying your warm summer weather! Till next time…