get ready for this—school has officially begun! the students came streaming in monday morning, flag raising ceremony and all. they went to their respective homerooms as us teachers received our schedules. kind of amusing to look back on the fact that i didn’t know what times i was teaching what students until that first morning—things are done a little differently here (again, learning the value of patience and flexibility)! so as of this week, here’s my schedule: school begins at 8am. each class period is approximately 45 minutes, give or take a few, depending on when a student rings the bell. each day i teach 4 out of the 7 periods in a school day. i typically teach periods 1-3 and occasionally 4th or 5th period, depending on the day. after 5th period there is lunch, then periods 6 and 7, which i have off. the school day concludes around 3pm, but i am done after lunch! not too shabby ☺
definitely a few humorous stories from my first day that i will seek to amuse you with, but first let me try and depict what it looks like when i enter each classroom full of students (another tid bit about school here—the students stay in their classroom all day, it’s the teachers who move from room to room. so i don’t actually have my own classroom, just an fyi). i enter the classroom and the students stand up. i say, “good morning class” and they all reply (with loud, eager voices), “good morning teacher!” i then say, “how are you?” and they answer, “we are fine teacher, thank you. and how are you?” i then say, “i am great, thank you. you may sit down” and they say, “thank you teacher!”. i get to experience this each time i enter the room and it definitely brings a smile to my face and excites me for teaching. as i was teaching 3B, i quickly realized that i had quite the rambunctious group sitting before me and wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with their noise level. i decided to implement a short clapping method, where i clap a little beat, have the students repeat it, and then all voices are supposed to turn off. it took a few tries for me to communicate this, as well as for them to get the clapping rhythm down, and i’m confident it will take many days for them to fully grasp that i expect silence once I begin clapping. as some might say, try, try, try again—and so i will. while i was still teaching 3B, i was posing questions such as “what is your name, how old are you, where were you born, etc”. for a while there they were responding appropriately, and then the so-called ‘class clowns’ surfaced. a few of the boys began telling me they were 100 years old, 62 years old, 1000 years old and so on. i couldn’t help but smile and laugh at their sense of humor—kids will be kids, and that is no exception here in ethiopia! thankfully the homeroom teachers have remained in the room as i teach which has been a big help because they are able to translate at times when it’s evident that the students have no idea what i want them to do—nothing like having 80 sweet kiddos giving you looks of confusion! haha. the teachers have been extremely encouraging about my teaching abilities/style which is just another affirmation that this is exactly where the Lord wants me right now. no better place than being in His will and following in His footsteps.
so many students, so many faces, so many names, so many stories. when I think about it for too long i get overwhelmed. despite this, i’m encouraged by scripture, for we can rest assured that the Lord knows each and every one of them by name. He created them (and you!) with purpose, as unique, beautiful children of His.
things i’ve discovered:
- there are many more male teachers than female teachers here. interesting.
- students will remain in their classroom, even if their teacher does not show up. they wait until the next period, hoping there will be someone to teach them. not really sure if this would be the case back in the states...
- power outages can last a few hours or a few days. our most recent outage this week was for 2 days—doesn’t seem to phase the kiddos much. yay for more candlelight dinners!
- the sun sets over the mountains between 6:15-6:30pm.
- i like helping out in the kitchen. some might say i’m becoming quite the chef...they allowed me to make the salad and cut the bread the other night for dinner. maybe in the near future they will give me more “advanced” tasks. haha
- one of my favorite parts of the day is watching 3 precious little girls eat their meals (Lydia- 2 years, Sarah- 3 years, Selam- 4 years). they do not wear bibs...you could say they get a little messy. simply adorable.
- hellohowareyouwhatisyourname— the most common words/phrases you will hear the students say to americans. of course, you better stick around long enough to give them a reply because they are very proud of being able to briefly converse with us english speakers ☺
- the rainy season might be finished! it hasn’t rained in 3 days (as of 9/24). that is a big deal and a good sign.
- the pigeons here clap. yes. i did say clap. not all the time, but i’m thinking it’s a method of communication. way cool.
i am having soooo much fun teaching. these kiddos make me smile. a lot. and i definitely think many of my students think i’m crazy. i’m totally ok with that ☺
- for each one of my students
- for marta and deme as they are in the united states for a week and a half (good health, travel mercies, accomplishing the tasks at hand)
- for my growing friendship with the american volunteer named zondra
- for continued confidence with the language
- for feelings of peace and encouragement that come only from the Lord when i am missing family and friends