My first week of teaching was awesome and exhausting! My schedule was intense and I am nostalgic for the days when I didn’t have to wake up until 7:00 a.m. The school that I am teaching at is called Kira Primary School (Ki = Ch) and I work in a classroom of seventy 6th graders, which is less daunting than it sounds. The school is located in what is considered the “suburbs” of Kampala so the pupils are much more advanced than the general population. I taught 3 classes this week and I have returned to the conclusion that I am most definitely my own worst critic.* I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from my trainer and learned a lot about myself in the process.** It’s also been great watching my friends teach. They just transform into magical fairy teachers in front of the classroom!
My pupils can speak and read English but they have a hard time grasping the fact that the English alphabet has both letter names and letter sounds. But they can read perfectly. It’s like magic. Apparently this is a common problem so I will be singing a lot of alphabet sound songs in the next 26 months. God help us all. Next week, I am running Reading Intervention Groups, which is an important part of my job as a Literacy Specialist. Basically, I will be focusing on alphabetic/phonemic awareness, fluency, reading comprehension and vocabulary with struggling readers. I’m really excited because I’ve chosen my favorite poem of all time to help me teach fluency. It’s called “Twistable Turnable Man” by my man Shel Silverstein.*** I will even be incorporating some dance moves into it! Hopefully the kids enjoy it as much as I do and hopefully I don’t sprain my ankle in the process.
Right now, I’m taking a break from lesson planning and taking full advantage of the luxury of free wifi. My body is sore from flopping around in the pool yesterday**** but I can’t complain because I can’t even recall the last time I felt as relaxed as I did soaking up the sun with a drink in my hand. Life is good.
*On a serious “finding myself” note, teaching has shown me how much I really need to change the incredibly high standards I hold for myself. One of my observers actually told me that she wishes I could see myself through her eyes…and the sad thing is that I’ve had plenty of people in my life tell me that in different contexts. It’s unhealthy and even hypocritical to a certain extent because I don’t expect much from other people (evidence: my entire dating history). I need to be kinder to myself. Peace Corps Goal #34654657454.
**Apparently I’m a natural in front of the classroom and have a great “teacher voice,” which explains a lot. I’m finally putting my bossiness to good use! Also, one of my friends told me that she would never mess with Teacher Tahrima, which made me laugh so hard.
***Also my lover from a past life.
****3 vaguely related thoughts: I can’t swim. I am so out of shape. I can’t remember the last time I ate meat.