Thursday, June 12, 2014

Teaching Rwandan Teenagers

I am so sad that we have finished our time in Kayonza. It is such a special place with fantastic people who love kids, education, and Jesus. I really do wish I could move and teach there. It still might be possible. We'll see what the Lord is up to in the future. Diabetes...I hate you.

Now for today...

The morning started a little bit rough because of my blood sugar being extremely high. I wasn't feeling well and was very thirsty. (normal symptoms) It just makes you uneasy being in a country where hardly anyone actually knows about your disease. The numbers are better now because of the prayer warriors and more insulin.

We get to the school and I immediately head to a Senior 1 (7th grade) math classroom. They were learning about binomial and polynomial identities. The teacher did a really nice job until the students asked questions. He wasn't able to describe how to work/think about the problems in a different way. For me, I feel like that is all I do in my classroom. I MUST explain things 3 or 4 ways before any lightbulbs come on. It was the perfect classroom for me to be used because I have so much experience in this area.

I walked around and helped students who needed further clarification. When the teacher saw that I actually knew what I was talking about, he asked me to work the 3 practice problems for the class. It was a little nerve racking but fantastic to be in front of 50 kids who crave learning.

Then it was tea time. So British with an African twist. Love it.

After tea time, I had to teach the lesson I had prepared the night before. It was definitely a collaborative effort by the team and some friends from my school in Houston, even though the team doesn't teach math. The lesson went fabulously! I could not have been more pleased! It was also affirming that the Lord has gifted me in specific ways, and He intends that I use those gifts for His glory.

The Plan:

I was instructed to teach displacement vectors. Cool. Never taught vectors before. I have always been a little afraid of vectors because I never had a great understanding of them. It's time I learned. The math is easy peasy, so I knew that I needed to make it interesting and different than their normal taking notes.

I walk in and pose this question: "A plane is traveling from Kigali to Entebbe. Kigali is located at (2, 2) and Entebbe is located at (5, 7). What will the displacement vector be for the plane?" I had the students write it down and think about 1 thing they understood and one thing they didn't understand. I got everything from what's displacement to them finishing the problem. That was what I expected, so at least my thinking was on the right track. Next, I tell them to stop thinking about the problem, which drove some of them crazy. I told them we would come back to it in a few minutes.

To illustrate a plane flying, I had the students make paper airplanes and throw them on a giant coordinate plane on the floor. They started at (0, 0) and they landed at various points. We found the displacement vectors for 5 of the students in class. We then came back to the original question, and the kids made sense of it easily. Every kid understood the concept and had fun doing MATH. Such a great day!

The last class I visited today was the Kinyarwandan class. We broke words apart into prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Each one has specific meaning, and it made me want to move here to learn Kinyarwandan and teach. I also got to know some of these kids a little better because I spent time in their class twice. They are great kids! I am pretty sure I will love teenagers no matter where I go. The Lord has just given me a heart for them.

Lunch was on point. I feel like I only use that phrase in regards to food...hmm. They included dodo in our meal today. I know what you're thinking and no, it's not a bird. It's kind of like spinach, and it's delicious. Bonus: cool names make anything cooler.

After lunch, we went to the school staff devotion time. Lauren sort of threw me under the bus. One of the women asked her if she would sing. Lauren said no, and told her that I am a fantastic singer. Long story short, I get asked to sing, so I say sure. My freak out at this point is "WHY CAN'T I REMEMBER THE WORDS TO ANY SONGS?" I end up singing the chorus, verse 1 and another chorus to "Bless the Lord", and proceed to forget the rest of the words. For no prep, it wasn't bad. Allowing Jesus to use my willingness to serve Him in whatever way He leads. It was fun.

Overall, a fantastic day of serving Jesus by loving people.

Silliness from the day that you probably will not care about:

  • My name is Teacher Connie. Legit.
  • Wes will raise his daughter alone and have to figure out how to dress her like a girl without giant bows. (Not married yet, no daughter, just predicting his future)
  • Lauren has a feminist crying inside of her.
  • Jessica's face likes to turn BRIGHT red.
  • Janet likes to say awkward things.
  • Emily likes to come out of left field with witty comments that make me almost wet my pants.
  • Zach told us his wife's most embarrassing moment and didn't even think twice. 
  • Lauren, Emily, and Jessica made a fortune teller (the foldable one from 4th grade). It had some evil things on it. My fortune: I will marry a man with suede shoes. 
  • Game 1 of the World Cup! Go Brazil!

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