Felicia Black
Felicia Black
South Africa 2011- 2012
I am a recent Belmont graduate (Class of 2011) and I am going back to South Africa. I first went to South Africa in the fall of my junior year at Belmont and I had so much fun I decided to apply for the Lumos award and have been lucky enough to go again! Check out my previous blog at http://coming2sa.blogspot.com/ I will also be updating that blog as I return to South Africa so check ‘em out! Read More About Felicia →

Progress (sorta)

Monday 2 August

Today was a thousand times better than yesterday. Not that yesterday was terrible but there were definitely some bad parts. Today I was with Ms. Halana whose subject is literacy. Today her lesson was on adjectives and the different kinds of adjectives. I was surprised by how much they struggled with it, especially since she said that she has gone over it before. She explained the concept and gave examples and then asked the class to copy down a paragraph from the chalk board and then identify the different kinds of adjectives. What I saw were almost all the other words being underlined instead. Anything from verbs to nouns to prepositions. They seem to struggle a lot with parts of speech. We both agreed that next week we would go over nouns, verbs and adjectives again since there seems to be so much confusion. Ms. Halana said she hasn’t even gotten to adverbs yet but I consistently saw those being underlined as adjectives. Lots of confusion. Hopefully next week we can clear some things up.

I have a lot of confusion myself about my role. Apparently I’m only supposed to be working with small groups of students and I am not supposed to be left alone with the students which happened again today but not to the same degree as yesterday. Ms. Halana even tried to ask me about it but I had to explain, although I knew she already knew that I was not allowed to be alone with the students. I’m not here to replace the teacher but I’m here to help. Mr. Stofile has gone over this with them but I think they want to just try it to see what I do. Maybe next time I’ll just walk out with the teacher. It’s pretty annoying.

Today I was so busy with marking papers I barely noticed that Ms. Halana had left. Every single paper had something wrong with it or they had found adjectives and identified them correctly but hadn’t found all of them. Tons and tons of marking. It was pretty overwhelming. Ms. Halana was helping a little bit before she disappeared but tomorrow officials are supposed to observing so there’s a lot more paperwork to do….I’m not really sure. I’m not sure if I was understanding what Ms. Halana was saying. But regardless she wasn’t helping me too much which was fine because I was busy anyway. So next week hopefully we can divide the class up and I can take some to do a fun learning activity outside and Ms. Halana can do something inside. I don’t know. We have to figure all that out. It’s so confusing!

To add to my confusion Mel and I had a meeting with Mr. Stofile and we discussed doing afternoon workshops specifically for Grade 6 since they have their annual exams in October. The main purpose of the workshops is to focus on the exam and get them to answer questions correctly. That’s probably what I should be doing right now actually. Looking through the question papers as they call them here and finding out how questions are phrased and focusing on that. Lots of work. So starting next Wednesday I start workshops with 15 students for an hour with a half an hour on numeracy and a half an hour on literacy. Like I said lots of work. So next week Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be doing that and then the week after that on Tuesday I’ll be starting a computer workshop with the teachers because most of them don’t know much about how to use it. And then the week after that every other Monday I will be teaching another workshop with the Grade 6s at the computer lab. So if you’re counting that’s a total of four workshops going on during the week in addition to the classroom work that I’ve already agreed to do. Hopefully I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.

But today was fine because I was done by around 1 because Ms. Halan tried to leave her class with me and I decided that it was a good time to leave. The schedules still don’t make any sense here because even though I get the time table, we rarely follow it. Like today, we were supposed to go to three classes and we only went to two. Didn’t even go to the other one. I think it had something to do with the officials coming tomorrow and the teachers had to go through some more training for that….I don’t know. Again lots of confusion.

So what I’ve been told is that each day I’m supposed to be in three classes with one teacher moving from class to class. What happens is like today we go to two classes and spend way too much time on one assignment. I’ve been told a period is 40 minutes. What usually happens is usually an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. Makes no sense! But I just roll with and try to do the best that I can with the time I have. But it’s hard when you don’t even know really what you’re supposed to be doing.

So after I left Ms. Halana’s class I went to the GVI classroom and enjoyed some lunch. I didn’t realize until then how hungry I was. After that I watched the sports people who are supposed to be doing dance this week which makes me so jealous. I love dancing. What I saw was more chaos. They didn’t really have a set plan. They asked each of the kids to show them a move but it ended up being lots of kids dancing and volunteers dancing with the kids and no music. Weird but they seemed to enjoy it.

After that I was supposed to go into the computer lab to familiarize myself with the various packages offered but there was a class in there so I didn’t want to disturb the class. What I ended up doing was busy work. Mel kept on asking me if I wanted to help Mr. Stofile and I already knew I didn’t but there really was nothing else for me to do so I reluctantly joined her in his office. What he wanted us to do was basically count the numbers of 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s that they use for coding the students. Exactly what the numbers mean I don’t know. What I do know is that I got stuck counting up numbers over and over again which made my brain feel like it was going to explode. Not fun. What made it worse was the horrible buzzing that the light above us kept making it was driving me crazy, pounding into my head. I was so glad to get out of there.



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