September 11, 2011
Well our transport came and I didn’t get the last entry out for quite a while after I wrote it. The week with the teachers’ group was good. I think we were able to share a lot with the SA24 trainees about our experiences so far. The sessions gave us a few new pieces of information and helpful tips but much of what was being taught we had picked up in 5+ months in SA schools. We learned the most from the “trainers” (who were PCVs from the teachers’ group that has been here a year or more) during the “off” times – over supper etc. We were able to stay at the “staff” house with them rather than with the new trainees.
When I got back I was surprised to learn they were interviewing people for the open teaching position. The Principal had told me before that it can take up to 6 months to get a new teacher when one leaves. Just before we left he said he had gotten approval to fill the vacancy left by the teacher who was elected ward counselor. He told me a teacher would be hired within two weeks. Knowing the pace of things here, I didn’t really believe him, but it looked like it might happen. A new teacher was hired and started work on Wed. of that week! Yea, I don’t need to teach Grade 7 Science any more!........ Oh, wait! It seems that approval was given at the Circuit level but not by the District! It is now up in the air whether she can stay hired or not. The Principal is supposed to take teachers from the current pool of excess teachers not hire a brand new one. The problem with that is that the pool is empty now and won’t have “excess” teachers until the end of the current school year in December. There is no such thing as a substitute teacher, so if approval is denied, the students will be without a science teacher again unless I teach them till the end of the year. That is really more than I want to take on. I’m doubtful that many of them have enough English to benefit much from my teaching them. Although my Sepedi is slowly improving, I’m still at very basic sentences with a very limited vocabulary. So I think I will not pick that up again unless I hear from the students they would like me to continue…and maybe approval will come through.
September 21, 2011
I started this just before we left for a permagarden workshop we were at last week and get this out, but instead I spent my time visiting with all the other SA 24 volunteers in the evenings. To continue the saga from above about the new teacher, it isn’t going to happen and I have been asked to help out with some data base work since the office volunteer left to go back to work in Pretoria. I feel badly that the Gr 7 students won’t get science for at least the rest of the term (2 weeks) and probably the end of the year but I really don’t want to pick that up again. I have my hands full with the library - which I now have open to 5 students a day during “long break” (they sign up each morning) and after school 3 days a week – the English classes and the administration work. I have almost finished sets of alphabet cards for all the learners in Grades 1- 3. That’s (58+46+43) 147X26=3,822 letters glued to cardboard and cut out!!!! The ones for Gr 1 have lower case and upper case letters and a picture. The ones for Gr 2 & 3 are just lower case letters. I use them to teach phonics and the learners are enjoying them and learning how to “write” English words.
Richard is leaving for an “IRC” meeting (IRC=Information Resource Center – i.e. Peace Corps library) tomorrow morning and he will send out the blog from there where there is free internet for PCVs. It’s getting late so I’ll close for now.