Saturday, December 1, 2012

Zee School

Gates to my school

Huruta Primary is a hub school in a cluster. Cluster schools are supposed to help each other out, but I don't see a whole lot of that. With eight schools, my cluster isn't the largest I've heard of, but it's certainly on the large side. Truthfully, I've only even been to Huruta Primary, the others aren't in the city limits. Some of the are tiny, 16 students, so I'm sure they're out in a rural village that I wouldn't even be able to get a bus too.

I'm totally just going to focus my work on Huruta Primary.

Which is going to be handful.

The school recently, as in the past five years, expanded from a cycle 1 school to include cycle 2. Cycle 1 is grades 1-4, cycle 2 is grades 5-8. There are over 3000 students, and there aren't nearly enough classrooms for them all so students and teachers only come for half days. The morning shift goes from 8 to 12:15, the afternoon shift from 12:30 to 4:45. Every month (Ethiopian calender, not Western) the shifts switch. So grade 1 first came in the morning, then switched to the afternoon, and then switched back to the morning.

The school does have some nice amenities – a special needs classroom (the deaf kindergartners are adorable. Special need students here include the deaf, the blind, and the mentally challenged), a library with a better selection of books than the public library, a science lab (which I haven't actually seen used), and a resource room (of which very few teachers use). Personally, I'm a fan of the tea house on campus, all proceeds go to help orphan students. And it's the cheapest place in town that I've found so far.

The teachers are nice, and many know English well enough to have conversations with me. While not all are interested in what I have to offer, they do like me and are friendly. I love running into them on the street and have small conversations outside of school, it makes me feel like I really belong here. That I'm a community member.

Moments like that can turn a bad day around.

I haven't trully interacted with the students yet. They like to stare and touch, and in massive packs that I find overwhelming so I try to avoid being easily accessible when they have recces or there is a shift change. The teachers really help with that, they'll scold students who just hang on the fence around the teacher building during recesses. The kids in the states when I were subbing could be unnerving sometimes, I had two fourth graders start a fight, but here they can be down right terrifying at times. So many faces and bodies, it can make a girl claustrophobic under an open sky.

They are slowly learning the right way to interact with a ferengi (forgeiner in the local language). I refuse to answer to 'ferengi ferengi' or 'you you' (which is usually shouted at me) and turn away from any child asking for money. As a result, I'm getting yelled at less and kids approach me with 'hello' or 'good morning'.

And I always get a kick overhearing kids talking about me and one of them explaining I'm a teacher. It means they actually pay attention to what I do, and not just that I'm here.

Things are still rough at times, but I do like my school. I'm hoping to do all my trainings there, and include teachers from the other primary school in town, Boru Qalaxxa which is the hub school for the other cluster.


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