Friday, February 21, 2014

English Club

Last semester, for various reasons, despite wanting to have my student English club every week it was only every other.  This semester, I really want to have it every week, but I had no idea it would be such a hassle.

First off, when I arrived at school 90 min before club on Wednesday, I realized there was a student meeting to address student behavior. Kay, no big deal. I just had to find the teacher with the key to the chemistry lab that I use for club.  Only, he wasn't with the Amharic students. Or the Oromic students. Or in the staff room. Or the tea house.

Right, I'll use a different classroom. Or rather, a different room because the conference hall is the only spare space in the school.  Except, yes, there was a district staff meeting going on in there. No can do.

What followed was a search through the school compound for a spare blackboard that I could prop up somewhere so I could teach outside. Failing to find that, I went looking for an exterior wall that I could write on with chalk.

When the student meeting ended, I was standing in the small garden around the staff building wondering what to do.  I sorta hoped that students wouldn't come, but nope, here were two of them on the other side of the fence asking 'where will we be?'. They had no doubt seen me pull uselessly at the chem lab lock and crisscross the grounds several times lugging my supplies.

I made an executive decision and pointed at three blue painted cement blocks in the teacher's garden. “Come sit here.” And so I proceeded to pull out my speaker and other supplies and used a piece of A4 paper with a folder as a brace for a blackboard. It is really hard to write on your own chest.

I have to give my students lots of credit for coming to club. We obviously were in an unusual setting, and had also gotten started late due to the meeting.  And yet, they threw themselves into my story lesson on characters.  Picking them out from books and then creating their own, they all stayed an extra half-hour to work despite noon and lunch being two hours past.

While I am here to improve the country's English skills, it's not a goal my personal thoughts have aligned with. Many people in Huruta will never see another foreigner, or if they do will never have a conversation beyond “Hi! What is your name?” There are more important things to teach them than the English language.

But apparently, I can do that through English.  I can inspire a desire to go above and beyond an assignment.  My club students are learning to enjoy lessons. They are also learning creativity and critical reasoning, something this country is solely lacking. These are cross-subject skills, what I have wanted to inspire in students for ages.  It's nice to see my frantic thoughts of trying to make things work here have benefits.


Annalisa Crawford said...

Mostly, I imagine you are inspiring them and making a difference.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Good luck to you and your studies.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Post a Comment