Monday, 24 September 2012

Monday 24th September – my first class

In the morning the headmaster, Osman, took me to the souk with him to help me buy anything I need.  I was in desperate need of bottled water as the water in Ed Damer is 50% mud.  Facilities in the teachers’ accommodation do not allow for storing boiled water as the kettle and fridge are tiny and much used by all.  I have been using my water bottle which has a water filter.  Unfortunately the filter is not reusable and has clogged rapidly, which only allows me a trickle, when I am desperate for a decent amount.  I only have one spare filter.  I do have water purification tablets, but not an adequate supply for the time I am in Ed Damer.  Advice to future volunteers: bring a large supply of filters/water purification tablets. 

The souk is a men-only place.  It is composed of very traditional mud-built buildings and an area of cloth-covered stalls.  I was the only woman, let alone the only westerner.  As the headmaster is the only male staff member, he has to shop for the school catering staff as well as for his family.  Later I was told that there is a souk for women which operates on Saturdays.  Otherwise, it is impossible for women to shop by themselves.  We filled the car with large quantities of oil, vegetables, meat etc.  Osman also bought a watermelon and two types of tea (mint and karkaday, a local herb which tastes rather like blackcurrant) and a large pack of bottles of water for me.  He and I had had a conversation in advance in which he was very firm that I was not allowed to pay for anything as I am a guest.  In the time I have been in Ed Damer I have spent absolutely nothing. 
Today was a red letter day for me as I gave my very first lesson ever.  I asked the Head of English for a teaching timetable and was given several classes instantly.  My lesson was an attempt to teach the year 2 class the rhyme ‘There was an old woman who swallowed a fly’.  The purpose was to get the students to enjoy speaking aloud, without reading from text and without hesitation.  After going through the rhyme with miming actions a couple of times (earning some laughs as planned), I asked the class to divide into groups and attempt to reconstruct the poem between them using only English.  As noticed previously, those at the front latched on immediately while those at the back struggled.  I am going to use a better group system next time to have a mix of abilities working together.  At each part of the lesson I tried to get the class to speak together, copying the words.  They found this very difficult indeed, which I hadn't expected. The next lesson I give will be to a different class in same year group.  I already know from their teacher that they need help with particular vocabulary, so I am going to do vocabulary games with them. 

1 comment:

  1. Our classrooms are so crammed that it is impossible for the teacher to get around the class let alone getting the students to move. I plan to split into groups of 6 with the 3 in one row turning around to the 3 in the row behind. The were 84 in the class I observed today! Even better would be a seating plan prepared by the teacher so that the group of 6 consists of at least one higher ability student to support the weaker students. Nice blog Rebecca!