I'm here from America for an hour a day???
(Caution: long post!)
A brief description of my project is to take reading classes three times a week, (2 groups per grade, advanced reading and "at risk") from years 4, 5 and 6 (they call it years instead of grades). Then every two weeks help year 2 with English and observe the class when I have time. My Pule (Principal) and all the teachers know my project, they know why I am here but that does not mean they understand or really care.
My Pule originally told me my teaching time will be from 7-8, which is before school starts, the sun is not even up yet! As I said in a previous blog, it is best to agree then later try to change it. Best way to do that is to make them think it was their idea (I know it's manipulative), or to just do it my way without saying anything. I had to do both to get the schedule I wanted and it only took me two weeks.
She originally said 7-8, I asked her what time does the sun come up in Samoa and whether it was safe for me to walk in the dark, she then thought about it and said we have to have morning tea (30 minutes) and lotu (church, singing/ a prayer, 30 minutes) at 8 so I can teach class 9-10.
Great! Much better than 7 am! But one hour!? Really? I left my country, my family, my friends, my life to teach for only one hour a day??? REALLY? That is why you applied for a Peace Corps? So I can teach for one hour A DAY??? No no no no no, not this Peace Corps!
School is from 8 am until 1 pm. I stayed later everyday until 2 or 3 because my room really really was a mess!
I was warned about teachers trying to get PC to sub for them and I did not want to be known as the move in sub, (again, NOT why I left home) even though I was only teaching an hour a day. The first week they asked me to sub and I told them I wanted to help but was not allowed because of policy, which is true.
|Year 8 helping me with my classroom.|
|Year 8! Visits me often after school.|
|Helping me decorate the classroom.|
I had a lesson planned for 2 hours but because we were understaffed they did not want to teach, making up some silly "special program" for the first 30 minutes of school. I sat patiently waiting for the students to be dismissed for class, it really was a waste of time. BUT- I got the students for over an hour and that made me happy. It went really well too! At first there was fighting because I had about 45 students trying to sit in 15 chairs, did not think about that since I only made the decision to take all three classes only 5 minutes ago.. had to think quick on my feet! I already had my desks and chairs put in a circle so I had everyone sit on the desk, giving us plenty of room while I gave instructions what we were going to do that day.
I put them into their own grades and did rotations. Over the week I taught them a flash card game and what to do in reading groups, those were two of the rotations and the third was reviewing what they learned that week. The students would write down something they learned with a picture and after could go read or play a game with the others then we would switch. It worked surprisingly smoothly and was not as loud or chaotic as I expected. The teachers were impressed and kept saying Ms. Mati Malosi (meaning strong). Students still sang after the break but the day did not feel like a waste unlike the last week.
WEEK 3- Pule is back... Teachers told her what I did last week taking all grades at different times on Wednesday and Thursday then all of them Friday, it was just a known thing now that I take all grades at different times throughout the week and part time Friday. Wonderful! Week three was a success! I should be only taking them 3 times a week not 5 but that is something I will work on that on week 4.
Again, I was asked to sub- I told them I was too busy with my classes but I will take all my classes for an hour like I am suppose to a day and they can switch around the other classes how they want outside of my time... (I pretty much just said, no, I am going to do what I do everyday and you can figure it out, but I said it a lot nicer!)
|All coloring their hands. Some have never help scissors before,|
they are great with a machete but new to scissors...?
|Decoration students helped me with.|
I'm pretty satisfied with my schedule but it needs a few more tweaks. I loved teaching everyday but it is only required I meet with each group 3 times a week and I need to find time to observe and help teach year 2 lesson every two weeks, which is the second part to my project... PC was schedules to come out Monday to check on all the Volunteers, some are struggling at home or their schools. (I heard a few PCV, their Principals will not let them teach yet!! I feel so bad for them!)
So - PC was coming to my school Monday and Monday morning I told my Pule I had to prepare for their arrival and I could not have class. I explained they were coming to check on me making sure I am teaching and I am suppose to be observing year 2 and I have not done that yet, I am worried what the PC might say and I do not want to get into trouble! (Soooooooo not true) Her brilliant idea is for me to not teach Mondays and to observe year 2 every Monday then to teach the rest of the days... Score!
It took me 2 weeks to get the majority of the schedule I wanted, 1 week to try it out and I think week 4 it is now complete! Guess I will find out next Monday for sure, I'll keep you updated.