Not even I thought that my blog posts would be so erratic. I’m sorry. A new and exciting update is long overdue, and slowly on it’s way, I assure you. For the moment, I’d like to post a few things from the prior week. I began a little blog post last week, right after we received packages, and I never finished it. So, here it is, in some semblance of coherence...
Christmas came early
Just when I was starting to plummet into a foul mood/ get a little jaded about this whole training process and my life in general, we were given our packages. Exactly as my mother predicted, there was a huge mound of packages awaiting the trainees, and it finally made its way from Kigali to our training center in Nyanza. Let me recap a little before I continue with recent information. Today is Monday, December 13th. Exactly 2 weeks ago, half of the trainees began teaching “model school.” This is nearly self-explanatory: model school is what we call the practice teaching we’re doing. Since students are on holiday right now, we have a school at our disposal and kids who would rather be sitting in classrooms with us than doing chores at home. Most of us are teaching English, the others teach Chemistry, Biology or Math, and all of us are teaching lower secondary students. Translation: 11 to 18 year olds... for the most part. I’m sure that once I’m at my site, teaching my students, at my school, I’ll be able to make more accurate comparisons between American students and Rwandan students, so I’ll save my speculations til then, but rest assured, the two cultures produce very different students. One of the things I’m having the hardest time adjusting to is the general lack of student participation. Kids here are really quiet. I have to ask them to speak up every time they answer in class. Many of these students are quite bright, and many of them know English (to some extent), it’s getting them to speak and participate that’s the challenging part. It’s an exciting challenge, and I love teaching even when it’s “practice,” but man does this practice add a whole new level of stress to our training here. It’s great to get into a Rwandan classroom and have a bit of trial and inevitable error before going to site, but it’s making for some really long days. I started teaching last week, and therefore am a third of the way through model school, and I’m learning a lot. So in addition to language class, technical training, cultural sessions and the like, we’ve added model school to the mix. Long days became longer, homework multiplied and I’m ready for training to be over. I say that with fondness and excitement, not out of frustration or fatigue. Being out on my own at site is sure to be a very different experience from training, and I feel completely ready for it now.
A med session that was conducted last week gave us trainees a great bit of advice: courtesy of Dr. Elite:
don’t get hit
don’t get bit
don’t do “it”
don’t get lit
don’t eat shit
Wise words, and always a good time in our medical sessions. Today is Tuesday, December 21st, I’m currently sitting in the back of the classroom, observing another trainee teach model school. We are nearly done with the whole training shebang, and if I thought I was ready to be done last week, I was wrong. I’m ready to be done now! :) But I’m still enjoying every minute of this long and tiresome training. I’ve received some specific questions from my daddy dearest, and I intend to answer them in the form of my next blog post. Other good peeps and family members have asked equally awesome questions, so hopefully I’ll be able to provide some good answers and further explanations. Keep the questions coming! They keep me on my feet, they keep me thinking, and I love to try and see from your point of view. Merry Christmas, happy solstice, and expect to hear from me soon.
PS: Christmas/ New Year’s skype dates... get em while you can! (e-mail me and we can figure out a good time)