Thursday, August 6th 2009 -
To present information to young minds is quite a task. It takes work; preparing the lesson and developing an overreaching strategy for how you are going to convey the knowledge to the young, but keeping in mind that you not only for to transfer the information but facilitate the understanding of the material. This alone is one of the hardest and most challenging tasks I have come to face here. But I was able to develop a test that was challenging for the students, though maybe it was too challenging for them. This system here is all wrote memorization. I really dislike this approach. I wish that the LCF's would just let me try to teach, other than coddle the students, and tell me that they can't do it. I know they can.
Friday, August 7th 2009 -
Feeling great. The way that modern medicine can drastically improve ones health is astounding. “Take these pills for 5 days”, and “bam” it is as if I am a new person. I am now really able to wake up in the morning and appreciate the rooster crowing and the donkeys braying. But then I realize it is actually 4am so I then go back to bed for 2 hours. But it is alright, cause I'm not drenched in sweat as normal and I've been keeping busy learning and teaching and adapting.
I gave my first test the other day, and I now have a new found respect for any educator I have ever had in the past. It was a surreal experience to say the least. Watching as 42 students struggled over the questions I had written on the board. Though the questions were repeats of what I had done in class, the way I presented the problems required some amount of critical thinking, which is something that students here have absolutely none of. In Burkina and much of
Today I handed back to them what they had done. I wasn't very happy with the results, but then I remembered that I had promised the students a bonus of +2 points on the next test, which made the results more favorable. Here in this country there is a strange custom that has grown from the culture and the french system here. It's called “reclamation”, and it's annoying. It's where the students have the opportunity to check over there tests and check to see if the teacher has graded their tests fairly and added up all of the points that are due. Well since I gave them a gift of adding the 2 points to there overall score. I decided to skip out on this little practice, and being here in
This may seem to anyone not here in my shoes to be a harsh reality. You may be asking yourself “why would Kyle be so mean?” But I tell you that it is the students here who were being mean and got everything they deserved. I did give them the answers to the test beforehand, and even told them so. If they didn't believe me or take it seriously enough, then that is actually not my fault. Because here in
Saturday, August 8th 2009 -
Actually went well today, my LPI language test. I had french in the morning. But not with my normal LCF. But then I took the language test with the same guy. I was calm and slow, and tried to be as precise as I could with my conversation. I'm hoping that this time that I receive a level that I actually feel that I am at. But I have grown above this silly ranking system (even though a certain level is required before being allowed to teach). I know that I have the ability to communicate at a higher level on paper, but my pronunciation is just not good enough. Even with all of the practice I get daily, I seem to have a hard time with certain sounds and word combinations. I know I will eventually be able to get it. But until then I will just keep trying to do my best, studying and talking with people in french. Maybe someday I will be able to converse with people and have them understand what exactly I am saying.
With the guys in the afternoon, we decided to play poker (there was money involved but only 500 cfa = $1, the equivalent of a pop). This was one of the most entertaining experiences we've had so far. There was a lot of bonding going on, and I realization that I actually knew a little about poker. I say that because I tied for first (well we just split the winnings because everyone else had left for the restaurant and we we're hungry). Needless to say, I won a little money and later had a couple of “brushettes” on the boys (brochettes are basically kabobs of some cheap meat, and they are very tasty). After the restaurant we decided to go dancing at a local night-club. And dancing at a night club with other foreigners in a third world country is quite the experience to be had. The repetitive rhythms of the African music does get under your skin, and the dancing customs are strange, large circles in which people take turns dancing in the center... odd. But here they stay out all night, “yay” for no governmental regulations on the clubs here. Needless to say that was a late night (considering I am usually in bed by around 8:30 or 9:00 oclock.
Sunday, August 9th 2009 -
My sister did my laundry. Now it's on to discover how someone can teach computer skills to older Burkinabé, that's right I get to teach the adult class. Where they like to hold keys for no apparent reason and the logic of technology does not come easy. But maybe they will be more well behaved then the 5eme (7th grade) kids that I have had recently. Hopefully they will be less chatty, I would really hate to have to kick an adult out of a basic computer class for chatting with a friend while I am talking.
I received a present today from my host mom. It is a really cool looking dress shirt that's blue with a predominantly yellow floral design with some red accents (but still the shirt is mostly blue), and it's also accented with white thread patterns in the form of stripes which add another neat dynamic to the shirt, this is something I think I'll wear a lot, it is that cool. Clothes here are quite different than compared to those in the
Monday, August 10th 2009 -
I taught my first computer class today. What to say about this. I really do not know the vocab and there is absolutely no direction to the courses whatsoever. Teaching the adult class was a little different than the 7th graders I had. Here in the adult class, if you mispronounced their names, they would then proceed to correct you. What a different dynamic, to go from a teacher of a young group, where I am in all intents and purposes the judge, jury, and prosecutor (aka the respected LAW), but here with the adults. They think that I am here to help them, not to really instruct them. It's weird to experience the difference. So what did we do today. Well review of typing of course. Meaning I used this simple practice typing program, but the typing program does this annoying buzzing sound when someone holds a key for too long, and since I have the lowest level adult class. I then get to deal with the constant sound of buzzing throughout the day. It wasn't all bad though. I showed a lot of them proper hand position, and some of them even improved a little, which made me happy. After an hour or so of this, I then decided to introduce them to Word (yes there is Microsoft Office here in
Wednesday, August 12th 2009 -
I taught in the morning, but then I received a package (thank you so much mom and dad, it was amazing). It contained some of the most awesome ingredients. Beef jerky, Skittles, cheese sauces and spices.... yum. It was just amazing. I put myself into a sugar coma in around 30 minutes, it was wonderful.
Thursday, August 13th 2009 -
This was an amazing day. Today after I taught, my group (all of the trainees were split into groups) cooked a delicious meal with an american twist. We made tuna melt sandwiches, and they were to die for. Using the tools here, which was difficult, we were able to make some fantastic food.For a side we made cheesy garlic mashed potatoes. And for dessert, one of the girls in my group made a mango tarte (which again was to die for). This was seriously an awesome meal.
Not to mention from my package (again thank you so much mom and dad for this, I'm so happy about it, I am not even able to tell you how much I love it), the kool-aid.... ahhh the kool-aid. And the beef-jerky and turkey-jerky (man this stuff didn't really last long... yeah it's all gone already (the candy and the food not the kool-aid)).
I have also been happy about all of the PCVF (which are Peace Corps Volunteer Facilitators), who have helping us throughout our training. I haven't really been talking about them through my blog or in my journal, but they have definatley played a large part in my growth here. I would definatley want to one day be one of them. I feel as though it would be a cool job, teaching the next generation of teachers, here in
I have been hanging out with the PCVF's lately, because well, I am going to be a PCV soon, and be one of them. So I am hanging out with my future peers. They are all pretty cool in their own sense. Quirky or cool, they are all nice and so happy about us (the new PCVs) being here. I can't wait to be labled a PCV.
Friday, August 14th 2009 -
Today I am so thankful for “Kool-aid”. But beyond that I am thankful for technology. As I was looking through my folders I found some music that I had forgot about and thanks to modern technology I am able to acquire a whole bunch of music (new for me) from all my friends. Trading files has definatley become a hobby, whether it be movie files, TV shows, or music. These files get passed around a lot.
We've been taking a lot of exit tests lately. Only one more week of model school. This is rediculous to think that this is almost over. I'm about to go from constant contact with people who have become my friends to complete isolation. That is going to be hard and I'm not really looking forward to it. But I am able to handle isolation. Heck I was that way in high school. So I think I can handle it until I make some new friends.