Monday 10-06-2013: Choirs and Reading

Up at 5:45am today, and while I was well-rested (thank you 9:45 bedtime) it was hard to get out of bed today because it was so chilly! Alice and I headed off to breakfast early (since she had breakfast duty) but while we were all enjoying breakfast, the power went out. We had to eat the rest of breakfast, wash dishes and have our staff meeting basically in the dark (since the sun was only starting to rise by 7am).

At the staff meeting, I was told that Josie’s (one of the teachers) car battery had died, and I volunteered to cover her first period class. It was form 1 maths (7th grade), which I knew I could handle material-wise, but I was rather surprised to find out that it was a class of about 30 kids! Between the lack of power, the lack of worksheets (Josie was going to print out the worksheets when she arrived on campus) and the early morning cold, it was quite the exciting class.

Thankfully, however, they did have homework, which I was able to go over in detail with them, since I didn’t want to start teaching a new topic (especially since the textbook “doesn’t go in order” according to Herb, the head of the maths department). While going through the answers with them, I sensed that they were getting into a routine, and not really thinking about the problems.

So I decided to switch things up. For starters, I invited two brilliant, but terribly shy, boys to come up to the board together to write their answer, which they both seemed to like (and it was refreshing to not have the same three kids answering all the questions!) Since the class was working on sequences (for example, 3n+4), everyone seemed very adept at plugging and chugging to find the answer. Once we got to the end of the worksheet, I tried to stretch their brains a little by making them do the opposite – instead of asking how many sticks you need to build four connecting triangles, I asked how many triangles you can build with nine sticks. It was the coolest thing as I walked around trying to encourage them to do this. Quite a few kids told me, “We can’t do this” but then soon thereafter, one of the other kids sitting at the table exclaimed “ooh I get it, you can tell from looking at the other row in the chart!” It was perfectly timed, because literally right after this one kid had a “light bulb moment” the power (and therefore lights in the classroom) came back on!

After that I had a few blocks free, and then it was on to our Form 3 maths class. Today Mr. Laverick was there, but we have slowly been taking over more and more of the class. Some of the kids have a sheet that every single teacher for all their subjects needs to sign every day, and today I was able to sign it for two of the kids (I even signed it “JK” since Mr. Laverick said I didn’t have to forge his JL signature!) Daniel and I spent the bulk of today’s class going around and checking to make sure that the students were doing the problems correctly. I’m both excited and apprehensive about having my own class, but I think it’ll make a big difference having another person there to help teach and plan lessons, etc.

Soon thereafter, I was able to use the internet in the sunshine! I even checked the weather, and for the next 10 days, every single day will start out around 36 (oF) and go up to 75+, and even 81 on Wednesday. It was even crazy how big of a difference there was between sitting in the sun and sitting in the shade around 11am. Hooray for layers!

After lunch, all the interns except Bikey (who was tutoring) went to Choppies. I got another 1.5kg of pears and some cashew nuts. Daniel, Alice and I sprinted back to school, I quickly gave Alice my groceries and “baby” (my money belt that I use to hold money safely) and Daniel and I went off to the parking lot to see if we could find the bus that was going to do Makgasa Reading (one of the Serivce SPEs). We were able to find said bus (and, even better, there was room for us on it!) and after a 15 minute ride, we arrived at the school where we would be reading.

As we pulled into the gates, a bunch of three and four year old children started running towards and around our van. As we got out, two little kids held my hand, and one jumped into my arms! It was literally the cutest thing ever, and made me really miss camp! One kid, who was probably around 4, wouldn’t let go of my hand, and kept hugging me with his other hand.

To be honest, I was very bummed to learn that these weren’t the kids that we would be reading to. Instead, we were ushered into a classroom, where I was told to have the kids (who were around 14 to 19 years old) read to me, and I’d only help them out if there was a word(s) they didn’t know. Some of the other MaP students were one-on-one or two-on-one with the students, but I somehow ended up in a group of three-on-one.

I tried to make the best of it, but these girls were far too interested in their cell phones. Unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be a teacher in the room (and I obviously didn’t feel like I had the power/right to confiscate their cell phones for half an hour) so it was a rather frustrating period of trying to get two of the girls to pay attention while the other one was reading. However, I did think I was able to help them a little bit with their English, although not too much with their whole-story comprehension.

Once we got home (around 3:15) I had the rest of the afternoon to chill. It was actually really nice just sitting in Jennifer’s room and talking (and laughing!) with her, Daniel and Alice.

After dinner, the power went out again. We were aware that the Drakensburg Boys Choir (from South Africa) was at MaP preforming tonight, and we decided to see if we could sneak in (since it cost about $20 for a ticket!) Since there was a security guard present, Alice and I just sat outside the theatre, listening to them sing a song that sounded very, very familiar, but unfortunately they were at the part that didn’t have any words. Afterwards, they sang We are Young by Fun. and halfway through Some Nights, I practically screamed “SEAL LULLABY” which was the name of the song they had sung earlier that I remembered. I sang this song in High School, and it was so cool that now it was being sung halfway around the world.

We then thought they were done with the concert, so Alice and I headed back to the (still dark) annex. Grace, Jennifer, Alice and I chatted for a bit in Jennifer’s room (and I tried some of the delicious honey cheerios!) but soon Alice heard the boys’ choir singing again and wanted to go check it out once more.

I agreed, since I really did enjoy their music. As we were sitting outside for this second part, we saw two shooting stars, and even though I was freezing, it was such a cool experience. Later, we realised that the door to the auditorium was open, and we actually got to watch the last ten minutes of the show. The boys were dressed in beautifully colored apparel, and at the end, they joined forces with two or three other choirs and sang two songs together – a very cool experience to see and hear!

TGT: 1) getting so much love from the little children in Makgasa 2) watching shooting stars while listening to the spectacular choir 3) the honey cheerios (cuz let’s be real, would it really be TGT if one of them didn’t include food?)

Until next time,
~JK

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2 thoughts on “Monday 10-06-2013: Choirs and Reading

  1. You saw a shooting star?? LUCKY!! Hahahaha I can TOTALLY picture you randomly shouting out the name of the song once you came up with the title hahaha 😉

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