dimanche 29 juillet 2007

Model School or "Faites Attention!"

Hello . . . I used to be an upper-class white girl who got a brand new car when she started driving . . . my dad graciously paid for my very expensive education . . . yeah i had jobs but i was never financially independent. I was a student riding the dole. And it was awesome. I know it now and I knew it then. The food was good too.

Now I live in Burkina Faso. Most of you if not all of you didnt know that BF existed. I have a real job and a salary (actually i make the exact same amount of money here as i did every month in school). I speak a language that, two months ago, i didnt really speak at all. I teach in a classroom of 90 kids of various ages . . . in French . . . and no electricity. I should be in shock. I know I should, but Im not. That is just how my life is now and I have two options: Find things about it that i love or admit defeat and go home. The latter involves tasty food but the former is the stuff of building a character . . . which is something that is hard to do as an upper-class white girl in a world cushioned from challenges. The world i just left . . . best decision ive ever made.

So, yeah Model School! As part of training we SE volunteers teach at a Lycée (high school) for an hour a day. The kids attend as prep for national exams or to get a head start on the next year. There are three subjects that the volunteers teach: SVT (biology), PC (physics and chem), and Math. I teach SVT, of course. This is because BF has a huge shortage of teachers especially in the three areas i mentioned above.

There are 4 grades in the first cycle of Lycée and right now I am teaching what would be the equivalent of 8th grade. The science they learn in 4eme (8th grade) is geology so i am teaching about volcanos and earthquakes. This presents a prolem because there arent either of those things in Burkina so it is difficult to explain things to kids who have very little, if any, opportunity to see, hear, touch, smell, and, god forbid, taste things in the biological world. There arent any oceans, mountains, or forests where i am teaching so there is a lot that they learn about that theyll never experience. Protists are out too because there arent any microscopes. Just me . . . a cracked blackboard . . . chalk . . . and the hope that Im more creative than i think I am. On the upside, the kids want to learn and they want to do well.

So, at 8am the "cloche" rings and the kids kinda start going into the classrooms (even school is on africa time which is to say not on time. As a side note: i have yet to see two clocks here that have the same time). I usually start teaching at 10 after. I actually teach two hours a day right now so when I am not in class I am making my lesson plans. I am giving a test on wednesday and after that I will see how much they were able to understand. Classes are over at noon and then i have language class.

The level of french that i have is very similar to the level the kids are on which is a really good thing because they can learn a lot of SVT from me because I will be speaking on a level that they can comprehend. Also, the culture of the Chief is so ingrained here that every class has a "chef de classe" or class chief i guess. The chef does everything for you - erase the board, fill out all the teacher stuff, take roll, tell the other kids to can it etc. Its pretty awesome.

I guess that is it for now. I teach biology two hours a day in french as part of my training for the real thing in October . . . just to summarize.

2 commentaires:

Jessica a dit…

Can I come be your class chief? I'm not good at telling kids to can it, but it sounds like I could do the other stuff. I used to be really good at washing the board and clapping the erasers together... perhaps you could use my services. I love you, Becca Boo!

Molly a dit…

Teach them to say "Can it Ballstein" just like in Zoolander!