Blog Entry August 14, 2011
Time does fly by. A lot has happened since I last wrote a blog entry.
We are well in to Term 3. I have taught two sections of Grade 7 Natural Science. The first topic of the term was not exactly an easy topic for a new teacher to come in on in the best of situations: Human reproductive system, pregnancy, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), HIV and AIDS. Compound this with the fact that, although the students are supposed to be taught in English from 4th grade on, they really do not have very good English skills or vocabulary. After 4 weeks of teaching these topics, I gave them a test. It was mostly multiple-choice, true/false and fill-in-the-blank. I was very disappointed to look at the results. Fewer than I thought understood enough English to pass the written test. I hope maybe they learned a bit more that what was reflected by the test – very discouraging.
On the other hand I am thoroughly enjoying my work with the younger learners. I have helped kindergarteners make letters with playdough – some even spelled their names. I’ve played word bingo with Grade 3 learners. For Grade 1, I’ve been making them cards with upper and lower case letters with a picture. They each have an envelope with their name and they get one letter at a time. They have S, T, and P so far. They learn the name of the letter and the sound it makes. The next time they get O and we will be able to sound out and read lots of words: top, to, pot, stop, pots, tops, spot.
Two weeks ago we got to go to Kruger National Park with the primary school field trip – 90+ learners and ten adults in a double bus (the kind with an accordion section in the middle). Kruger is a huge wildlife preserve. It is a drive through park. We saw a lot of animals: giraffes (they are incredibly graceful creatures), a rhinoceros (that was asleep and really looked like a large rock), lots of elephants (we saw a big bull elephant knock over a tree to get at bugs under the roots), hippos, a crocodile and lots of deer like animals of all sizes. There are some pictures posted here and a link to a video.
The garden continues to grow. We had broccoli from our garden last Friday before we left for our current trip. The carrots now have their first true leaves!
Our current trip is a trip to Pretoria area. We left Friday, Aug. 12 and had an “All SA PC Volunteer” meeting on Sat. and are going today (Sun.) for a week of training for education volunteers. There is a new group of PC volunteers who will be placed in schools. We trained with a group going into NGO’s and missed out on the training specific to teaching in SA.
We’re at Peace Corps Headquarter in Pretoria just now and I hope to get this up today.
Bye for now,