The other day I finally kicked out my first student of the year. I don’t love resorting to this method but I had been giving notes for over an hour (to try to help prepare them for their impending final exam) and when I found him huddled in the back reading his biology notes, his English notebook nowhere to be found, it was all I could do to resist the urge to whack him across the head with his pile of notebooks. So I sent him outside while the other students awkwardly laughed and gazed at me with fear in their eyes- this was my first display of anger this year.
Eventually I caught him peering through a back window, trying to take notes through a haze of dust and spider webs that coats all the windows, and I figured that was a desperate enough gesture to allow him to return. That day I assigned them an exercise to write five sentences about themselves. At the end of the period he turned in his paper, his gaze downcast, and his paper completely filled with writing. He wrote about his family, what he likes to eat, his friends, and his life at school. Most other students chose to copy random sentences about Mary and Joseph going to the market that I gave them in their notes.
It turns out I had kicked out my best student. Of course I didn’t know he was my best student and I still feel justified in kicking him out, but I did feel a little guilty when I read his sentences about how much he loves English class. My favorite line read, “I have English five times a week and it is so nice, that teacher of English I love her so.” I can confidently say he regained all his brownie points that he lost in the great note-taking debacle earlier that day.
As I mentioned in my last blog they did orphan roll call at my school last week. The headmistress came into every class and when she called out each name the child had to say if they had both parents, and if not, which parent was still living. I was horrified for many reasons. Horrified that this was such a normal activity for everyone and horrified by how many kids had only one parent or none at all. It was a nice dose of reality. These kids come from hard situations and even though they drive me crazy I need to be patient with them. I try to remind myself of this fact every hour I teach because I tend to forget it when they are acting like brats, because middle school is middle school no matter what the country and the children have a predisposition to be a bit bratty.
Next week is review week, followed by exam week and marking week, and then I am on a plane home to America. I have decided to come home for my grandmother’s funeral and I am looking forward to spending time with my family and celebrating a wonderful woman’s life. I am home the 2nd-19th so if you feel like penciling me into your schedule for a coffee or dinner date just let me know- I would love to see people! Not a lot of photos for today but here are a couple or flower shots. Rwanda is home to a diverse and beautiful flower collection and they never fail to brighten even the gloomiest of days!