So, I’ve been back at school for a week now that the strike is over. I wouldn’t really call what I’ve been doing teaching though – more experimenting, trying to find ways to work with these kids; figuring out what they know and even what they understand is expected of them at school. Behavior has been a major issue for me, especially with my nursery students that have no language skills. All the children know how to copy from the blackboard though. So “fill in the blanks” are copied word for word, blank line and all.
My latest experiment was a book (of course.) On Wednesday I got the kids in a circle and read them a book. A simple book, really only one word - hug. The pictures tell more of the story. After I read the book I had each of the kids read the book to the class. 6 kids! 6 times to see the same story! But it worked! They enjoyed it! And even the child that has no language (and is usually kicking and throwing things at the other students) tried to tell the story and sat the entire hour! Unfortunately, I don’t have enough books to do that everyday or even every week but it’s a start.
My first week I struggled trying to get the kids to be creative. Draw a cat, the sun, yourself – they just wanted to copy what I did on the board or copy out of a book. But this week a few have gotten excited about drawing. So that makes me hopeful.
It’s really a mess of emotions, being worried about how I’m going to teach these kids one moment and excited about trying to find ways the next.
As of Monday, I have 23 months left in Kenya. Seems insane to me! Both the thought I’ll be here for 23 more months and the idea that I’ve already been here for 3! I hear that the first 3 months are the hardest (not including the 2 months of training, so still 2 hard months to go.) Then, after in-service training in April, it gets easier/goes faster. We’ll see…