Friday, October 21, 2011

Teacher's Day, Taste Labs, and T-he end...

Hello, friends and family! Hope all is going well back home. As the weather turns colder on that side of the world, it is heating right up over here. Back to the days of sweat, cold baths, and acne. So excited!

I apologize for the lack of updates recently. My laptop kicked the bucket once again, so my computer time is rather limited. Overall, though, things have been going pretty much the same as last time. By the time I put this post up, I will officially be done with classroom teaching for the year! Wow, did that go quickly! At the end of September, we also celebrated our one-year anniversary of leaving America. The best part of completing a year is the fact that I feel genuinely excited for the second year, which is a good place to be at.

So what has been going on? Pretty much the same ol’, same ol’, I just feel like I know how to do it a lot better than I did at the beginning of the year! This past week at site may have been my best week at site ever, actually. October 12th is Teacher’s Day in Mozambique, and it’s a pretty big deal. Normally the teachers organize a big party with each teacher contributing some money to pay for food and beer. Not surprisingly, my sleepy little town was a little behind on the planning. There was talk of a party, but no one ever got around to actually organizing it. We would have the normal “cultural presentations,” but besides that, not too much. I was kind of bummed about the lack of party, but it ended up being a great thing! Since no food or drink was around, the day was not focused on just getting drunk. Instead, we had a big presentation with all the teacher’s dancing, my REDES group performed some songs (we are now doing original songs with guitar accompaniment- pretty advanced!), my English Club gave part of their competition play, and some other groups showed dances. After, everyone headed out to the soccer field to watch the teachers vs. students game, which I got to participate in despite being the only female. The teachers lost, but it was a riot. They hooked up some speakers out on the soccer field and blasted music during the game, and we even had some students do a dance for the “half time show.” To round out the day, most of the teachers headed over to one of the little bancas and chatted and danced around. It was a very fun day and I’m very glad I got to participate!

In the classroom, things have been pretty fun as well. Because of the crazy number of holidays in the already shorter 3rd trimester, I realized pretty early on that there was no way I was going to get through everything I was supposed to. It actually worked out for the best, though, because for the last few weeks I’ve just been giving fun lessons. They may not know everything about the nervous system that they are supposed to, but I think their general excitement about biology and learning is a little higher than it was, and I think that’s more important. For my last actual class before their final, we did a little “taste lab” where I brought in solutions of the different tastes and they all used match sticks to find where on the tongue that taste is detected. They were pretty excited to do something different, and I think the students really appreciate when a teacher prepares something different than the typical dictation-copy lesson plan. This coming week I’ll give my final exam, and then I’m done! I really hope I get to teach 8th grade again next year, so I can improve on my lessons, but I also really hope I get to add 9th grade as well so I can move on with these students. By this point, I really feel like I know each turma really well, and it’d be great to keep working with them. We’ll see next year!

Socially, things continue to get better. I feel like I can really show my personality well, now, and know what kind of sense of humor works over here. It’s nice to finally be able to joke around with the other teachers! I mentioned my friend Veronica before, I believe, and I’m really happy to keep getting closer with her. Of all the women I have gotten to know, she is the one that I can relate to the most. It helps that she’s from Maputo, so also from a little more developed society. She’s also only a year or so older than I am, and it’s just so nice to feel like I have a friendship where we are equals. I have a great time hanging out with my REDES girls, but they’re still only teenagers. Celsa has become a great friend, but she’s quite a few years older and already has older children. It’s so great to finally fill that gap of someone who was truly my peer, and I’m really jazzed to continue to get to know her next year!

The time between now and my visit back to the States in December will be pretty busy! Although teaching is done, I’ll still be pretty occupied at the school helping proctor and grade national exams, as well as the normal end of the year grade stuff. In the middle of November, I’ll get my first visitor- my sister, Molly, is coming over to Africa for 2 weeks! I am going to meet her in Zambia to hang out at Victoria Falls for a few days, then we’ll travel back to Mozambique together and bop around until Thanskgiving. We’ll be at my site for a bit, too, and I’m really excited to have her see where I live and meet some of my colleagues. Since she’s a teacher back home, it will be really cool to show her what my teaching life looks like! After that, I’ll just have a couple weeks before heading back to beautiful America. I am so very excited, and hope I’ll get to see many of you who are reading this while I am home!

Well, the song for this post is going to be “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. I’ve done quite a bit of dancing to it in the last couple months.

So that’s it! Miss you all!