My First Week Teaching

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January 24th 2010
Published: January 24th 2010
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Our classroom
It is Sunday night and I am finally getting around to writing about my past week. Today we did some shopping in downtown Windhoek and went out to lunch. I had to get some school supplies for my classroom and I also found a cute summer dress. Yesterday we had a Braai in a park with Edwin and Emmy, my professors friends from Windhoek. Their whole family and a bunch of their friends were there and we had some delicious food and did some dancing. That lasted from noon until past 6 so we came back and just relaxed together for the rest of the night.
Last week I was in my school from Tuesday on. My teacher has been incredible and I am building a very good relationship with her. She has had a student teacher from the same program that I am doing in the past so she was very excited to have me working with her. She told me that she wanted to be honest and told me that she was not a very good teacher before the last girl came but that she learned a lot from her and keeps trying be better. She said that
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Learners working on their name tags.
she is very excited to learn from me and be an even better teacher.
Although it took a few days to start teaching actual academic material, I finally got a temporary schedule of which classes I will be teaching. The first few days I was working with our main class that is assigned to our classroom and my teacher and me. I read some books to them and played games to get to know each other and for them to get comfortable with me as a strange looking person and know their teacher. After we got our schedule it took another day or two for us to teach the material. It is frowned upon to start teaching before the entire schedule is figured out because your kids might be getting a head start. This is very opposite the way things work in the states, but I just keep telling myself that they just do things differently here and I am going to do the best that I can.
I have six different classes and eight periods a day. I have at least one planning period a day (at least according to our temporary schedule) and some days I
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Here are our name tags!
have a class twice, once for science and once for art. Those are the two subjects that I will be teaching, science and art. I have four 7th grade classes of 41 or 42 kids each and two 6th grade classes of the same amount. I am working very hard to learn all of their names but there are a lot of kids all wearing the same uniform. I spent a day having the kids create nametags so that I could practice their names by passing them out and also be able to call on them by name during class.
We are starting science class with male and female reproductive systems and mental and physical health. I was very nervous to be teaching this as I have never done it before and then to 6th and 7th graders, but now after starting a day or two I am very excited to be doing something new that will stretch my comfort zone a little bit. I am very excited to teach art and my teacher wants to learn from me how to teach it better, so I hope to integrate some other subjects into the art lessons so they can
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Silka was too shy to take a photo by herself.
do some double duty.
I love being at my school and am slowly feeling more and more a part of the community there. Every moment is a learning experience, either as a teacher or as a person in the world. Every experience is new in some way, and yet I am finding comparisons between life at home and life here. I am so blessed to be here taking it all in! That is it for now. I will write more soon and fill in more of our safari trip from last weekend.

Additional photos below
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Let's all get a picture!
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These boys wanted to take a picture together.
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And so did these girls.

24th January 2010

Teaching Lessons
Great post, Emily! I love reading your reflections on your experiences. It's interesting that the teacher is excited to learn from you. How unusual for "an experienced" teacher to be so open to learn from their "student" teacher. Too bad we aren't all as open as she is! I can't imagine what you are learning and processing each and every day. I think this will continue long after you are back at PLU. I'm sure your experiences - both as a person and a teacher, will forever influence who you become and how you teach. Thanks for sharing it on your blog. I'm quite jealous of you, having always wanted to go to Africa. Enjoy your trip and God bless you. Debbie Cato
25th January 2010

Sounds like you are having an amazing time. I was overjoyed to see your name in the background of one of the pictures!! I'm so glad that not only are you learning from the kids and your teacher but that she can also learn from you. can't wait to hear more :)
25th January 2010

Hi Emily, Auntie Jody gave me the link to your blog. it's amazing reading about your experience! I'd love to do something like that one day, but it scares me to death:) We're reading the book The White Masai right now for book club and there are a lot of similarities to what you say and what she experienced in the book. It's really amazing to me the way the tribes live off the land with just a few ingredients available to them, when they are available, and how they still manage to survive and raise children and animals and have their own set of rules and traditions. I'll keep up on your story there, and look forward to seeing your pictures. Enjoy every second, I'm sure it will go fast, and it is such a priveledge! I"ll keep you and the rest and the kids in my prayers! Is there an address where we could send you stuff for the kids?? CAndy, pencils, etc. ANything you need?
28th January 2010

Emily, I just got through reading your blogs, and I was truly touched. What a neat opportunity you have to impact the lives of these children. As you said in one of your entries, what you are experiencing is a life-changing experience, and what a blessing the Lord has given you. I don't recall how long you are going to be in Namibia-- but if you are going to be teaching some actual classes, it doesn't sound like too short term. I'll be praying for you. Love, Aunt Suzanne

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