Goodbye on Thursday - we only had one day left :( <3
Deep in thought.
Never enough group pictures for this crowd!
Group picture with the grades 6-9 girls.
Best group selfie ever! They LOVE selfies (as mentioned before).
We looked at grades from the past 8 weeks -- I did it all at once on the last day instead of handing back individual exams.
I made them promise to write to me - so the grade 10-11 girls wanted to write "We are Southern Girls" on the top of the page but didn't know how to write it in English.
Grades 10-11 SELFIE.
The books - so many memories just making the book.
The gorgeous remembrance piece.
It's basically a poem. And my reply to it would be that "it was my pleasure".
From the principal, teachers, and my loving students.
As I predicted - I got through all the material!! I am so happy - now that they have the phrases + their translations they can study as much as they want on their own. In the middle of the lesson on Friday I gave the kids a quick break and asked the teacher when I should drop off the flashcards I made. She said she didn't want them! She has so many other subjects to teach that the week leading up to the exam (the exam is on the 21st) will not include any English. I was so heartbroken. We had made SO MUCH progress... if they don't even look at English for a whole week then all that progress goes out the window! I didn't say anything because I knew it wouldn't be fruitful. I went and talked to the Principal - more on that in a bit. So after hearing that this would be all the English they learn I went on and started speeding through the questions of past exams. They have a book that provides the English questions of the Scholarship Exam all the way from 2004. I started at the bottom and worked my way to the top. Then I stopped at 2010. I did that because (I ran out of time) and I had made a practice test for students that included questions from 2015 to 2010. When I went to meet the principal I told him to give the flashcards to the students - even if the teacher won't teach it it doesn't mean the students can't quiz each other and practice on their own. Then I also gave the practice test and told the principal to give it to the teacher. I'm sure she will do it if he tells her to. It's the last week before the exam the students just really really need this one last push. It was the last day so I gave them mechanical pencils
These two classes went well. This week was the 'Names of Cities, Provinces and Countries' lesson. For some reason the provinces were the HARDEST. It's just Northern Province, Southern Province, Eastern Province, and Western Province but they had a really tough time with it. The cities part was okay - but they didn't even know where/what some of the cities were! Next time I need to pick cities that are more relevant or closer in vicinity. The countries were fine and easy but the students refused to write down the pronunciation. Next year I am going to make them write the pronunciation for everything form the beginning so they can get into the habit of it and not be lazy by the end :). Other than that the lesson went fairly well! I had grown most close to students in this class so it was hardest to leave them. I gave them chocolate (because the begged for it in the previous weeks). They loved it - I had given it on one other occasion and then every week after that was begging for chocolate. Well they got it now and they are veeeeery happy. I gave them my address and they promised they would write to me. I told them I would write right back. They asked if they had to write in English...I said they didn't HAVE to but add English where they could!
I think they tried harder knowing it was the last day of class. This week's dialog was 'Talking to a Waiter' and included three speaking parts. I like that - more than two speaking parts means that I can get extra people to participate. This lesson wasn't different from all the other lessons...it got a bit boring now. I think I need to figure out how to make dialogs more fun... Here's a lit of ideas so far:
Make it a part of a play (like a skit!)
Props...maybe edible props for the restaurant??? ;)
Write lines on strips of paper and make them put it together.
I need to keep brainstorming but if I do I think I can come up with something good. My goodness... the students and I have come SUCH a long way since we first met. I remember them being suspicious of me and both parties had a hard time balancing being the same age but in a teacher-student dynamic. But somehow we just ended up being friends! I like them so much - they are down to earth and very nice. They seem so close together and I am touched they let me be a part of that too. I will miss my new friends.
So it <doesn't> end...
So the 8 weeks of teaching are done. Also marking the end of Phase 3! (Yeah the phases thing is cheesy). So when I go back I will be working on a 'Lesson Library'. One of my friends in Sri Lanka just shared that she might want to join the project. So then I can just have a lesson library with lessons that she can pick and choose from. I'm trying to make this project more of a system or a place where people can gather materials for teaching or get ideas or be inspired or anything like that. I would love for this to be replicated just because I feel like it's really working at this school - so I know it can work elsewhere. This is only my second summer doing this so there is still a long way to go. I have a list of goals for next year that I will post sometime next week! There is a lot more work to be done and I am excited for all of it.
Meeting the Principal
Before leaving I met the principal (not that the title gave it away or anything...) I firstly presented him my book. A whole whopping 130 pages of sweat and tears. Ew no it's actually 130 pages of paper. But point taken, right? It includes some great stuff: introduction, lesson plans, reflections, pictures, and scores. (The online report will NOT include the scores in it's original form but instead in links that lead to a spreadsheet with the names taken out - for the safety of the students.) It took hours to print in a tiny copy shop in the town outside the village. This report is much larger than the one last year so it took a lot more time -- I even left in the middle of the printing to grab lunch hoping they would be done by the time I got back. No such luck. In the hours I spent there I got to see the comings and goings of the copy shop and all kinds of drama between the workers. I'm going on a tangent... After that whole nightmare I was left with two lovely books with pages crisp enough for paper cuts. It was worth it because the principal loved it. He said it was a great book and that the pictures were lovely. After he signed both book I made sure to tell him about the quiz included in the book and also handed over the flashcards. I requested that he encourage the students to use and practice with the flashcards among themselves. I know he will take great measures to make sure the students use this remaining week well and study on their own. Then at the end I was given a lovely present!! The principal is always so stoic and serious that I never expected such and kind and thoughtful gesture. He and the teachers and gotten together and made a remembrance piece for me. It's made of glass and sits on a lovely little pedestal. It's covered in pictures of the students and has the logo of the school. It has the sweetest message written in it - it's almost a poem. As he handed it to me I will never forget what he said: "When you do good things, people notice. Even the gods notice." It was the loveliest thing I had ever heard. I promised to keep it somewhere I will see it everyday. I will keep the piece safe and sound. This is a very underprivileged school and the teachers don't get paid very much at all. So I know how much it means to go out of their way to make something so beautiful. It just makes it all the more special. It's something I'd want to have even when I am a 79 years old. I've had the most magical 8 weeks and if I could do it over I would do it just the same way. The mistakes I have made, the electricity cuts I went through, and especially the people I have met have made this truly the best summer ever. I can't wait to get working on the 'Lesson Library'!!!