Thursday, July 1, 2010

Plumbing, Cat-Care, and Teaching

Since I wrote this title, it has been quite some time—so I will try to remember what exactly happened.
I remember that I was too stubborn to ask for help to unclog the sink, so I unscrewed the pipe below the sink and had quite the nasty surprise…but it worked.
I also know that I was the only one who said yes to watching Jennifer’s cat while she was in Kampala. I’m not a fan of having to feed a kitten every 3 hours, especially one that cries incessantly. Oh yes, also involved in this job description was helping it to pee by rubbing it’s woman (or man) parts. Who knew, eh?
When I was trying to pick a major for college I thought about my favorite subjects in school: math & English. Unfortunately, I figured the reality of being anything other than a teacher was small…so I declined those majors. Recently I have been affirmed in that decision. Harmony Primary School is a private elementary school a short bike ride from our compound. Rachel and Stephanie both help out children who need extra attention, so naturally they asked me to help too. The first day I went I observed. It really didn’t look too bad, after all, I have tutored a variety of subjects to a diverse amount of ages. But let me tell you, even my most frustrating writing conferences cannot hold a candle to what this is like. I went in with Rachel this week and she told me I could have the most advanced group…also the group that she gave up on (because she didn’t know what to do). That day I wanted to get an idea of where they were at, so we read a book together. It went well—they really are excellent readers. We stopped after each paragraph and discussed the story. Then I had them write about what they learned. The information they wrote down was inaccurate and even directly opposite of what we talked about and read. For example, we read about Noah and the Ark, and one of the children wrote that Noah and his family all died in the flood.
Day 2. I wanted them to be able to write a (very) short story on their own, but I figured they would need some guidelines. So I gave them a list of things to include in the story (i.e. a family of 4 monkeys, bugs, a river, a bird named Peter, etc.). For one of them this worked alright…but for the others it was a struggle. They wrote about each in bullet-like lines and did each in separate ‘stories’ (each being 2-3 lines long). I think I’ll talk about how to write a cohesive story and use their first writings as drafts…or something. It is difficult because even if I can teach them how to write a paper I have much doubt that they will even use this skill; paper writing and creative thinking seem to come in slight quantities.

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