26 February 2010

Boa tarde, Senhora Professora!

As I write this blog post, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been teaching for a month already. Whereas I have given and corrected my first biology test, I’m still working on the names of my students. That could have something to do with the fact that teaching 11 classes of eighth graders with 55 students each, I have about 600 students. But I have learned my favorite students’ names, which is a start. (It doesn’t help that I’m not terribly familiar with Portuguese names like Boaventura, Moisés, and Calado). The students only have biology twice a week, so I end up teaching the same two lessons 11 times each during the week. It’s nice that I don’t have to do much lesson-planning, but I start to feel a little crazy after teaching the osseo-muscular system for the eleventh time. And repeating myself over and over, I’ll be darned if I remember any biology vocabulary in English by the end of these two years.
Yet all in all, things are beginning to gel. I’m getting to know my colleagues a little better and getting to know the ropes. The living situation is challenging at times, being the odd person out in terms of culture and language (the roomies typically speak in Shangana to each other), but improving. I have begun doing my share of the cooking, and although black pepper is too spicy and vegetable skins are widely distrusted, French toast was a hit (syrup, however, is too sweet). You win some, you lose some.
My cat Bea is in good health and keeping me sane; I identify with him a lot, as we both share language and cultural barriers with our housemates. And although he has the habit of lying in the grass and ambushing my ankles while I’m walking back from the latrine or carting water (on my head, I might add), he’s a good cat.
My PCV sitemate is also a great help in maintaining my sanity. We are thinking of going to the beach this weekend for the first time since Christmas, and I think it will be a well-deserved break from school, Portuguese, awkward living situations, and… oh, so many more things that I don’t have the time or space to write about in this blog—things like marriage proposals, the surprising difficulty of procuring bread, days with precious little water—things to ask me about in two years. Or when you come visit me in Mozambique.
Então, ate já—passa bem, nada mão, e beijinhos!

1 comment:

  1. Nothing is ever simple, is it? So many classes of the same thing-- did I tell these kids?, so many kids-- which Lucera is that? The opposite end, however, is equally complicated. You are finding fun ways, like Simon Says, to teach and test. My biology teacher friend's favorite no-cheat quiz on geology was to bring a bucket of rocks and hand out a different one to each to name and describe.

    Sorry about your feeling left out. It always feels bad not be chosen, found interesting. And so far away may not have resolution very soon. But perhaps this solitude can become its own opportunity-- to explore inner yourself and use your time in a new way.

    My favorite quote as a teacher was something like this: They may not remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Though I spent countless hours devising ways to teach the present perfect, if I sloughed off listening to them to get to the lesson, it wouldn't take. And I can't say that they loved my drills or worksheets.

    You, your roommates and students are all in our prayers. When is the one due? Do they do "blue for boys..."? I'd like to include some baby things in a package I'm getting ready.
    Love, godmom Nikki