The end of my first two weeks teaching came much easier than the start. I’m still teaching the same Première IT class and Sixième English class, but by now I have much more control over my classroom dynamics. With my only teaching experience being senior citizens, discipline problems were never something I was dealing with on a daily basis. Here, I am the new mother to 30 african children for four hours in the week. It might not sound to bad now, but i get them for 2 hours straight two times a week, and in between the hours theres a short break that gives them enough time to run to the little shack by the soccer field and buy cookies and sugar coated beignets and come back with sugar sprinkled across their cheeks. I almost lost my voice the first week, but this week I gave them a seating chart and thought of better activities to keep their hands occupied. I gave them paper for drawing and practicing numbers and it worked perfectly. I was also amazed at some of the drawings people did for me. “Draw me 3 bananas,” “draw me five tee-shirts,” “draw me 12 trousers,” “draw me 1 ninja”. They especially liked the ninja, and I got lots of nice renditions of dragon ball z characters.
In my Première class, I’ve been going over the different types of networks. The discipline issues are more what you would expect in high school—more psychological torment than loud and unruly babysitting like my sixièmes. The first days they loved finding my buttons and seeing how far they could push me. They laughed at every single inevitable mispronunciation of a word in french, asked me dumb questions to see how I would react. I always thought I’d hate teaching at a high school, but I’ve actually had a fun time giving them a run for their money. (2500 cfa to be exact, roughly 5 bucks) One girl asked me if she could sleep, laughing to herself at the ridiculousness of the question, and i answered with a casual yes, of course, and told her she could sleep outside and the class giggled. “in the sun??” she gasped. “yes, in the sun,” and shrugged my shoulders with a fake look of sympathy on my face and moved on while the class giggled more. I thoroughly enjoy pretending to be a teacher.
I teach IT 1 hour each day and tuesdays we get to be in the lab for a practical lesson. Last tuesday there was no internet and the kids were BUMMEDD. Who knows why, though, because this is a very normal occurrence in Bafia. Insteach I showed them the inside of a computer and all it’s parts and pieces, and I pointed out the network I helped set up for model school so they could have a real life example of what we’re been learning. Its so strange teaching computer classes without computers.
The next day I gave a quiz just to see if what i was teaching was getting through any of the students. When I collected them i was so excited to grade them—it was the same feeling i had when i picked up the drawings of the 6emes. It was a proud mom feeling and i wanted to scan everything into my comp and put it on my blog so all my family and friends could see beautiful drawings of bananas ninjas and diagrams of local area networks complete with hubs and switches and be proud.
Teaching is still super hard—lesson planning and discipline and such, but i really have come to like it. After the test, I finally saw the rewarding side of it all. A few kids didn’t do very good, but the majority did awesome and my prize for the tope 9 were to use the computers in the lab with internet. One girl got a 20/20! I was so excited. I finally felt like i could actually do this for 2 years.