I Still Go To School

on teaching, learning, travelling


And I’m back to school!

I’m sorry I couldn’t post on Friday, as the internet broke down when I started working on the blog after the last lesson on Friday. Also, adding pictures only works sporadically, so I hope this time it will be ok.

So, I have completed my first week of teaching in Africa! African kids are naturally good students, they don’t complain, but work very hard and disciplined and have a strong thirst for knowledge. I’m kidding of course. Kids be kids.

First, let me say a bit about the school. “Jin-a school” is an American Satellite school founded in 1992 in Abidjan. They provide a home-schooling curriculum. Home-schooling means that theoretically the kids could use the material at home and, given the circumstances of the country, the parents or teacher takes care of them there and supports their progress. When the parents, for one reason or the other, cannot make time to take care of their kid, they can send it to a school. Here, the teachers, complementing the parents’ efforts, group the kids into grades, according to their experience and fulfilled workload. So for the kid it means that they have to work on their own. Each subject has a book, wherein each chapter concludes with an exam. We, as teachers, mark the exams and send the results to the US, where they get graded. We support them in the process of knowledge and language acquisition and, of course, take care of their personal needs of love, affection, and discipline.

First lesson, after introduction, we talked about rules. They receive school-rules, but you have to create your own ones as well, how you want your classroom to run. And keep on reminding the kids about the rules all the time, especially at the beginning. I’ve been told they get used to it after a while, I certainly hope so!

grades 6-8
I am taking care of grades 6-8 (the kids are 10-15), all in one classroom. Hereis a picture of my first class with their name-signs and their favourite item. They are very lively and talkative, and come from all sorts of backgrounds. One is from China, few others from surrounding countries. Furthermore, there are many kids who moved here from the US with their parents. The school provides American-Christian curriculum, but the enrollment is inter-religious and inter-confessional. Actually, within the first week, three new students arrived in my class, who are not on the picture. The classroom is packed!
I am the main English teacher for grades 6-8, meaning I teach: Grammar, Spelling, Bible (it was a surprise to me as well), History, Geography, Civics, English Language and Literature. Additionally I do 1on1 tutoring for two students whose English is too weak to follow the regular books. It is a mystery to me, why the parents choose to put their kids into an English-speaking school, when the kids can’t even understand the most simple commands and conversations. So we went back to the Alphabet and spelling the parts of the body, colours, and numbers.

School books! They are printed out and glued together here in Abidjan. I will write more about the books and schooling a different time.
On the weekend I participated in a beautiful wedding at the Golf Hotel, the place President Oatarra was based at as the recent civil war had been taken into Abidjan.