Tuesday, June 10, 2014

First Day in the Classroom

Random facts that no one will care about:
  1. Spandex shorts are awesome. #lifesaver
  2. I am learning to love showers that drastically change temperature every 10 seconds.
  3. I love shopping and bargaining in the market.
  4. My cankles are mostly bad to normal. 
  5. African lunch was on point, except for it being entirely made up of carbs. This diabetic doesn't really care. 
  6. Dinner was enchiladas. Also on point.
Random facts that you might care about:
  1. I've had heartburn for 2 days, and I've had it maybe two other times in my life for about an hour. The devil is at work...please pray for my body to heal.
  2. Kids are the same everywhere.
  3. Education issues in Rwanda are quite similar to the United States.
Now for today:

We got to tour the school in Kayonza, where I saw some of the teachers I met 3 months ago. Our tour guide and the Headmaster is John Africa. Coolest. Name. Ever. for someone who lives in Africa. I also learned some new information about the school. New Life Christian Academy has been the number one school in RWANDA based on test scores. This school is also made up of primarily sponsored children, and many of them are orphans. That is very cool that the Lord is using this school in such an amazing way. They will also be graduating their first senior class at the end of the current school year. 

We were all able to observe some classrooms fairly close to our subject and level. I saw a Secondary 2 math class, which is the same age as 8th grade math, and a Primary 5 classroom, which is the same as 5th grade. One thing I noticed today was that the primary and secondary classrooms are very different. Primary had lots of activities and group work where the kids were talking to each other, and the students in secondary classrooms were falling asleep, bored, and not engaging their brains in anything that was happening. We have two more days in Kayonza to work with the teachers and help them to learn from other great teachers in their school. Sounds like I haven't left Northbrook...

It made me think about my own classroom and how it needs to change for next year. It is humbling to sit at the back of a room and know that I have done exactly what this teacher is doing, and I got a similar response. Challenge accepted for next year to be better than last year. 

Some really great things that I saw in their classrooms were vocabulary and understanding (those that were paying attention). Tons of mathematics vocabulary that my kids struggle with were understood without any problems. They could solve equations and knew what they were supposed to be doing. They could answer in complete sentences and knew what the units meant in each situation. They were willing to struggle through certain problems. Many of those things my children cannot do despite the demand for it in my classroom. Also, the Primary class thanked the teacher at the end. Don't have a clue what that's like. 

Lauren also had her home visit today. So fun. David is precious, and it is exciting to be a part of changing a family's life.

As usual, you can check out the other posts from the trip here.

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