jeudi 6 décembre 2007

I am eat of the Sagbo

Test giving and grading is my least favorite teacher task. Truly, grading 300 tests in french is really, really . . . what's the word . . . oh yeah, it sucks. Tests in Burkina are called "devoirs" (confusing because thats the french word for homework) and they are out of 20 points. Quizzes are called, and i love this, "interrogations" which sounds really extreme and intimidating. "That's right!" i say in commanding tones "It's time for an interrogation!! What," i demand "is the air speed velocity of an unleaden swallow?" Some things just dont translate.

Of course all the students complain and say how hard the test was and "Oh Madam! Je suis malcontent!" Yeah, well i'm "malcontent" that i have to grade 300 freakin tests. Really though, I'm a total push-over and they know it. To appease their sad faces I give bonus questions on my tests. Usually, I ask the students to write a sentence in english. Their responses are HYSTERICAL. The bonus question entertains me while i grade all those papers. For the most part i get the same responses: "God is One" or occasionally "Good is One." "I love you" is a popular response. Sometimes they ask God to bless someone; this is often me because they think they'll get extra points, but usually it's various rastafarians and 50 cent who are the aim of God's blessings.

The last test I gave i asked them to write their favorite meal, in english if they could do it, if not french was fine. Most often I got this hysterical response "I am eat of the sagbo" which i'm still giggling about. I must confess as a person who gets laughed at continually for their misuse of language, its rather satisfying to get to laugh back. It's not just the double verb and extravagant use of articles in the sentence that tickles me, it's the reference to sagbo. Sagbo is the Moore word for to, that west african staple i have told you about - it looks, feels, and tastes like white playdo. Burkinabe eat it at least twice a day in village. They just do not understand that Americans dont eat to. That's the whole point of speaking english - you dont have to eat to! One student understood that sentiment and had this to offer for his bonus question: "I like some rice of America." Me too. One very ambitious student wrote this for her bonus question:

madam rebecca is the Bess Prof.
God Bless madam rebecca
madam rebecca Love the carote ou madam
rebecca Like the carrote
a cucumber

I gave her 3 points for that slice of awesomeness.

When you give back tests it is an hour long event called "reclamation" that i loathe. Anal retentivenss is at its most picky when grades are involved and at least half the students want to argue with me about what i've graded. In fact, it so annoys me that i dont want to talk about it anymore.

Have some rice of America on my behalf!

4 commentaires:

Jackie a dit…

i love the carrote too! This is the funniest blog I've read yet... I want to meet these people! I miss you!

Paul Tackett a dit…

Madam Rebecca... When you come back home, I think you should keep that name.. I like it. Anyhow, it sounds like you've got your work cut out for you but I know the kids think you're great, even if you don't like to eat their white playdo. I hope to get one of those cards soon so I can call you one of these days.

Jessica a dit…

I can't stop laughing! People in my office are looking at me... I guess I should pull myself together. I LOVE YOU!

Molly a dit…

Man, you must suck as a teacher. I am eat of the sagbo? That's not English! Oh, wait- you teach them biology. You know, about volcanoes. All I'm saying is, that one kid wrote a freakin' poem. A POEM! It just makes me want to... you know, publish it and take all the credit.