First Day of School

I am at a school called Lutheran Tetra Primary School. I am in a standard 1 class which is like a 1st-2nd grade level classroom. The first day, we were all so excited to head to our schools and we even took a first day of school picture! 🙂 We pulled up to the school and there was a bright blue gate that two men had to open for us to let us in. We drove in the court yard and parked the van. There is a Secondary School and a Primary School on the same ground. In between the two schools, there is a building that looks like a run down church but they are renovating it. It is a beautiful school that is 6 levels. Each level has classroom and it seems to go by grades. I am on the first floor because I am in standard 1.

There were so many students outside of the school just playing and waiting for school to start. Our kids have uniforms that are a dark green color. The girls wear skirts and the boys wear pants. They all have a white collared shirt underneath a green sweater. All of the children were so excited to see us…they had smiles from ear to ear. They were waving and running towards us. Once they reached us, they hugged us, touched our arms, hair, and hands. They just hugged and hung on to me so tight and kept looking at me. At that moment, I knew why I was in Africa. These children were so passionate about us and just wanted love. I am so excited to come everyday and see those children.

The classroom that I am in has about 37 students. They all have a desk and chair but not all of them have pencils, erasers, or pen sharpeners. The teacher let me teach on the first day! It was a science lesson, but hey, I taught!! I loved seeing how happy those students were to see me teach them. They want to just look at me and admire my skin that sometimes they didn’t follow what I was teaching in science class. The teacher that I have is so helpful; I’m learning a lot from her and she is learning a lot from me. I asked her what some statements were in Swahili so that I could ask them to my students. I had free time after Tea Time, which occurs for about an hour, and I went to play outside with the kids. I asked them to sing me a song so that we can sing it together in a few days.

I did have trouble at first trying to talk to my teacher telling her that I need to teach math in the classroom because of my class that I am taking in America. It did get worked out and now I am teaching math and science lessons almost everyday. I was really surprised how the students learned their material because most of them don’t have text books. They all use notebooks, one for each subject, that is basically their textbook. They learn the material for about 20 minutes and then spend about 30-40 minutes copying down the material that the teacher wrote on the board. They have examples and exercises to copy. When they are done copying the material, they bring up their notebook for the teacher to check right on the spot. The teacher is checking for correct spelling and neat handwriting. If they don’t do it right, my teacher will bring up those students to the front of the classroom and have them stand and copy their work.

I am just beyond myself that I am here in Africa teaching in a school where the students barely speak english. They are having a hard time understanding what I am asking them to do when I am teaching and they are having trouble asking me questions because they ask me in Swahili. It will get better and like I said before, I have a very helpful teacher.

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