1st semester is quickly coming to an end for the 2005 (Ethiopian calendar) school year. Next week final exams start and around the beginning of February the semester will be over. What does this mean? That means for the next couple of weeks I will get slowly less busy. With exams both teachers and students only think about one thing – exams. “Extracurricular” activities such as mine will be put to the side and deemed inappropriate for the time being. Then after exams are over there is a two week break. I will actually get a 3 week break because I have to head to Jimma 6-9 hours up the road for a week-long training.
Anyways, even though the semester is coming to an end I have just finished rolling out a couple new projects. I had my first teacher training for the English teachers in my main school in Aman and its three satellite schools this past Saturday. Attendance was lower than what I had wished with only 8 teachers showing up but for the first training session I think it went very well. I led the 8 teachers in group experience sharing about their English teaching and then we made a list of different things they wanted to change or improve about their teaching. We went over the old as well as the new teaching methodologies that the Ethiopian Ministry of Education would like all to teachers in Ethiopia to start using. Finally, we ended by talking about pair and group work and we had a couple of model activities the teachers could take with them and use in their classroom. At least that is my hope. After my next training session I’ll be observing their classrooms to see if they’ve made any changes.
Today, I began another one of my activities – the Teacher’s English Club. I’ve been struggling trying to talk teachers into coming but finding a time to make everyone happy and available has been a nightmare. Also, I’ve been told the teachers for the younger grades are afraid of the big white ferenji man (me). So with that and a general lack of interest because they don’t get paid extra to stay at school after class or to come beforehand I only had four show up this morning. Meaning none of the teachers from the earlier grades. Nonetheless, the 4 that showed were very enthusiastic and even better none of them were English teachers. Well, good in terms of showing this club is for all teachers not just English teachers like everyone at my school thinks. I had them play a “speaking game” today. I thought it was going to be easy but the most difficult part was explaining the concept of how to roll the dice and how a board game worked. These are things that they’ve never really been exposed to and know nothing about.
With the first semester coming to an end and still trying to figure out exactly on what day it does end I’m being very flexible and open-minded about my upcoming programs. Flexibility and a sense of humor in this job is crucial otherwise you will go bat sh!t (excuse my language) crazy! Anyways things are moving slowly but that is the nature of this job and part of the culture I’m working in. It is all a learning experience, frustrating at times but an opportunity to learn so much about yourself that you never knew was possible.
Other good news:
Last Friday as I was sitting up the library at my school for my teacher training on Saturday morning I finally talked my school director into letting me borrow one of the desks to use at my house for my kitchen. He said yes and although I said I’d be happy to carry it home by myself he quickly sent the vice director with me to find the exact desk I wanted and then found a pair of students that lived near my home and were headed that way to carry it home for me. Quite nice of them! Now, I have counter space and no longer have to peel and cut my vegetables in my lap and I even have room for a mini fridge that I’m hoping to buy with the next couple of weeks. Thanks for reading, please like this post or leave a comment below.