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 →

Take the Good and the Bad

Wednesday 17 August

I am so exhausted. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so congested which sucks. Yesterday was a good day though. Mel and I tried bellydancing which was really fun. I loved it. It’s R260 which is pretty pricy for only once a week. They do have another session in the mornings on Fridays but I can’t go because of school.

School was good yesterday. Ms. Halana came to see me early and said that the learners were writing a maths exam so she would come get me once they were done. So Mel and I took the extra time to plan for next week’s workshop. There are eight more weeks until the annual exam and I just feel like we have so much to do still, especially in terms of maths. We went through that first and next week I’ll be covering place value, addition and subtraction and ordering numbers all in one hour sessions. We’ll see how it goes. It’s hard not to feel any pressure because I have been grading their maths exams and the learners aren’t doing well. But our job isn’t to teach everything. I just have to keep remembering that. But it’s hard because I feel like I have correct teachers.

After Mel and I had our planning session, it was break time and I enjoyed the sun. It’s usually really cold inside and then later in the day it warms up. After break, I went with Ms. Halana and she went over part of literacy exam which took about twenty minutes. I then took some learners who were struggling to work on their comprehension. It didn’t go to well. What I thought would take twenty to thirty minutes ended up taking about an hour.


I feel in a haze right now. I can’t really think. This morning was a million times worse so it’s good that I am feeling better but better doesn’t mean great. There still doesn’t seem to be enough time. I’m on dinner duty tonight and then social night and then I’ll probably go to bed because social nights usually end late.

So I’m back from social night which was so much fun. It was thirty seconds which is a game where everyone writes down different words on pieces of papers and then people guess the words. The first round was just describing the word without saying it and then the second was just saying one word and then finally acting it out. I’m really competitive so I had a lot of fun, screaming and yelling trying to figure out the different words. Good times.

School was rough this morning because I felt like I was in a haze. I didn’t feel completely there so I did very little today. Mostly I graded but beyond that nothing. Ms. Fani taught shapes again, a lesson that I had already seen so I graded the assignment. I was really bored today actually. After break, Ms. Fani taught a different lesson on data handling and I didn’t have anything prepared for that so I just sat in the back taking notes. I did do some more grading. It wasn’t a very exciting day. I wanted to go home the second I got there.

Well something interesting did happen today or rather disturbing. I saw two older girls picking on this little girl and when I tried to stop them, they kept on going and it was really hard for me to control my anger. When I asked them about it, they said the girl was stupid which made me even more anger. The little girl was the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen and it broke my heart/enraged me. It was really hard to see. You get stuck thinking that this place is so great and that the only people you have protect is the children from the teachers (I saw one of the teachers hit one of my students really hard with a plastic rod) but then you realize that you also have to protect some kids from other kids. It really made me sad. I started to look at the school differently, more as a place where I had watch out for danger and protect kids instead of focusing on what I’m trying to do: teach. It’s just weird.

In the afternoon, I felt much better and I actually helped with sports. The girls were playing net ball which is a strange game where you have to catch the ball and land on your feet one at a time. It’s sorta like basketball.

Thursday 18 August

I feel wonderful at the moment, completely relaxed. I feel like I’ve been going all week. If it wasn’t social night, it was grading papers. If it wasn’t grading papers, I was trying to get my internet fixed. If it wasn’t that, I was trying to exercise because I have been severely neglecting that part of my life. This week has been crazy and emotional.

Let’s start with today. My maths teacher disappeared yet again but this time I at least knew what to do: go to another teacher. I asked around, couldn’t find her and was about to go to another teacher when Ms. Halana came looking for me needing help. So I worked with her. I did lots of grading which seems to be the bane of my existence. Luckily I took action and asked if anyone was struggling and Ms. Halana suggested Ongezewe. She’s so sweet and really shy. It was really difficult working with her but I really enjoyed it because I got to work with a student. I’m finding it hard to balance between helping the teachers (grading, planning, etc) and helping the students (tutoring, teaching, etc). But we had our one to ones today which is when the program coordinators talk to each of us just to see how we’re getting on. I definitely had a lot to say. Mostly about how I’m still trying to figure out my role. Mel wasn’t there which is weird because I’m used to seeing her all the time, at home, at school. She had to work in the office today so Jim did my one to one. I found out he’s leaving even sooner than I thought. Next week to be exact. Of course. One more person leaving.

But enough about me complaining, today I found out that my teacher disappeared because one of her students tried to commit suicide. I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. She said she had to take the student to a social worker and that’s where she went. I felt horrible and really didn’t know what to do besides obviously offer any help that I could provide. I ended up just doing some more grading which didn’t seem like a big help but at least it’s one less thing she had to worry about. What do you do in that situation?

I saw the little girl who got picked on yesterday again. She is so cute. I think she’s rather fond of me. She would pop her head into the classroom and I would get up to say hi to her and she would run away and then turn and smile. So cute! She’s missing in front two teeth as well which makes her even more adorable. She was in the room and Aimee was talking to her and when I left the room she followed me and held out her hand so I could hold it. I could cry. She’s so adorable. I’m sorry have I said that enough. Can I take her home with me? She then ran away and I kept walking and she followed me all the way to my classroom where I went in to see if my teacher needed any more help. She popped her head in that room too and then when I came out ran away. She is seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

There is seriously still so much to write. It’s impossible to write it all. Last night was social night which was awesome as usual. I’m so competitive. We lost but it was still a lot of fun.

This is the adorable girl I've been talking about

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