Journal: 26-28 March

Originally posted to Ask The Fire, 10 April 2018

I'm making Week 3 a full entry just because so little happened during this week. It was a shortened time anyway and most of the students were sort of checked out, knowing that break was coming up. Getting them to do anything was kind of like pulling teeth.

Monday started out in a sort of stressful manner. Grades were due by the first break between classes, so I spent the first two hours doing marks and double-checking for other teachers. I got to mark some feedback forms from a drama class (they had to go watch Footloose as an assignment), and we were pleasantly surprised that most of the class' boys enjoyed the play thoroughly. Then I played courier for all those grades and forms.

During the middle part of the day I again did office work. I prefer to take my break all at once at the end of the day (I'm allowed two class periods out of six off), but I couldn't find someone to observe during third period, so I just hung around and sorted papers. Filing is terrifying and I never want to do it again. The filing cabinet in the office is bigger than me and it apparently likes to fall over at random.

For the end part of the day I got back into the classroom. One of the music teachers was doing a pretty fun activity about the Circle of Fifths, which was actually fairly advanced, but I appreciate that she holds her students to such high standards. I kind of wish music education in the States incorporated so much theory. The kids seemed to like it, too. Afterwards I taught them how to play the train game and I kept hearing "okay, so I can take a train..." for the rest of the day.

Capped the day off with a visit to a Matric English class (Hamlet again) and went home! Since I spent part of the day Sunday trying to help tear down (weird story), I just lazed about the house and packed a little for Cape Town.

Tuesday started with an assembly, as usual. This time it was a fairly short one, but I'm still mildly annoyed at the very concept of assembly. Oh well. Not my place to be bothered.

The first class I went to was probably the most focused group of students that I saw all day. They were working on ONCE worksheets, so their work was very relevant (it's always based on current events, if you remember from week 1's journal) and they have a strong rapport with their teacher, so that helped them a lot. Normally in the States I wouldn't be so worked up over something like ONCE, but here I like it a lot.

Third period was the next interesting group (I didn't do anything special for second hour). The classroom teacher wasn't too keen to have me, as he was just showing a movie, but it was the same group of students that I saw last week who were very rowdy and got very little work done. I was interested to see if they would pay more or less attention during a film than they did for a regular class--in my experience, American students never pay as much attention for a movie unless you give them something to work on during the screening.

Surprisingly, they paid quite a bit of attention! They actually had a short discussion about how the film differs from the novel they were reading (for the record, we saw the film adaptation of Tsotsi, a novel about a gangster in 1950's Joburg). I was impressed, though they also were missing several members of the class... wonder if that had anything to do with it.

During the next period, more Hamlet. Again, I didn't teach, since it was Matric students. This group was half-asleep, which is kind of what I expected.

My last class was with a favorite teacher of mine, who's going on maternity leave soon. We didn't get much of anything done, just chatted and discussed how to translate idioms (they're non-native speakers).

As for Wednesday: arrive at school, go to lines (outdoor classgroup meetings), come inside for the closing ceremonies (which was a roughly 1-hour assembly), go back to lines to receive grades. That's it. After a short short teachers' meeting, we were out of the building by around 10AM. I went to a little restaurant by the beach with some other teachers (and a good deal of students, actually) and had a smoothie before heading home for the day.

Cape Town posts are coming up! We left early on Friday and I stayed until midday Tuesday, but I'm still waiting on a few photos. Give me the evening to get everything sorted–there's a lot of stuff to be posted (expect lots of birds).

Oh, and posts about the play. There's a little video of that, too. I'll make a recap post about it before Cape Town logs go live.

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