Saturday, September 3, 2016

Zambia - Monday and Tuesday

Monday, June 27th
Monday was our first day in the schools.  This year we were at Chawama Legacy Academy.  A new school will eventually be built on the property, but for now, the classes are in modulars.

Kids running into school! :) 
They are actually very nice.  They have wood floors that they are able to sweep clean each day, and each classroom has a white board.  Many of the classrooms that our educators were in did not have desks. They are working hard to make sure the classrooms have desks as soon as possible, however they are being handmade in Zambia, so it can only go so fast.

One thing I love about the Family Legacy schools is that they try very hard to employ Zambians whenever possible.  The education staff are all Zambians, and they have things made, such as the desks, by local dealers so that they can employ people there. Often times it would be much easier to turn to Americans to donate or send things over, but in the long-run, sustainability is key, and anywhere we can help create jobs is so beneficial.

I met my teacher, Teacher Wilson Mulongo.  He was very young, fun, and very personable.  I observed him as he taught math and science with Grade 5.  I didn't know he was departmentalized until I showed up, so that required some flexibility, but it worked out great.       

During Wilson's lessons, I took notes and watched for things that I could help him with during the week.  I had moments of feeling very incompetent, but I reminded myself to trust God and not rely on my own strength.  When it was my turn to jump in, I repeated the lesson I saw him do but added my own flair.  I showed him how to have them talk with a partner to keep them engaged, how to have them manage materials better, and how to break up/chunk the word problems they were working on.  We met after school and reviewed those things, and he was very receptive.  I shared our attribute of God, faithfulness, and prayed for us.  It was a great first day!!

Kenly, Alicia, and Kathryn were able to join us for dinner, and it is always good to see them.  We gave them each a gift after dinner.  We brought our "favorite things for our favorite people"  It's fun to spoil them a little since they work so hard all the time.  Love them!

Tuesday, June 28th
I taught math in the morning, let Wilson teach and implement what I modeled, then did the same thing with the afternoon group.  I think it worked out pretty well!  The topic was money and calculating rates.  Luckily, Zambian money is not too different from ours! :)  I noticed that the kids did not know their multiplication facts at all, and they really struggle with division, so I noted that as something to help him with throughout the week.  One game I taught him that week was simply skip counting around in a circle.  We counted by 2s, and each time someone landed on 10, they had to sit down.  They loved it!

I also used strategies like "turn and talk" to show him how to engage them in talking.  The strategies we show them seem simple, and they come so naturally for us as teachers, but the impact they make with these teachers is huge.  After school, we met to discuss the lesson.  He was so receptive and happy to learn.  He said he noticed how they liked it more and seemed to understand the problems better than yesterday. 

Another thing I noted to work on was encouraging efforts and praising the kids for trying.  This is definitely not something that comes naturally to the teachers in their culture.  It is not that they don't love the kids or want to encourage them, they just typically praise the correct answers only.  Sometimes, the kids even laugh at each other when they are wrong, and many students are afraid to answer.   Overall, I was pleased with how Wilson incorporated what I modeled.

Two of my favorite parts of the day are break time and lunch time.  The kids play games with their classes during break, and during lunch time, they eat a meal and just hang out with each other.  I loved getting lots of hugs during these times!!

After school, we came back to rest, eat dinner, shower, and get ready for the next day.  One of our funny "This is Africa" moments for the night was the water going off and on.  Even though we stayed in one of the nicest hotels around, when I turned on the water that night in the shower, it started coming out of the bathtub instead!!  We could only laugh and say, "This is STILL Africa!"