Today was the first day at Emfamini primary school. The school was built in 1994 and serves a mainly Xhosa population. The British had heavy influence on the South African political climate because SA was part of their colonial empire, presumably the educational system is modeled after the British style (Worden 24). As of this year, the school is now a “No Fee School” which means the children do not have to pay a quarterly amount in order to attended the school. Because of this some parents are running the library container (half of a shipping container with a door and a window) and other areas of the school without being paid.
After being greeted and briefed on the basic workings of the school we were sent out to our classrooms. When I arrived at my classroom, I discovered a merged classroom (one large room with a divider wall which splits it into two rooms, but was raised so there was no separation) with two classes of children all working. But there was no teacher in the classroom. Mrs. Tambo, the woman who was dropping us off with our partnership teachers, told the class she was going to “prove a point,” assumingly about the students’ behavior, by leaving me alone with the two classes. Shortly after that, a teacher came in and took away one of the classes in the room and another one filled in its place from outside. This class did not have the workbooks that the other class was using. After introducing myself and telling the kids that we would just roll with whatever we could come up with, the main teacher, Ms. Ncamble, came in. She then told me that she was absent because she was off decorating another room in the school, something that I never realized would be allowed in a school. Teachers at home would never leave their classroom alone or be calm when they returned to a room when a random, strange adult was sitting in on their classroom, whether or not they were aware an intern was arriving.
After getting acquainted with Ms. Ncamble, she traded out the class that had been with me for the entire time and then passed out the workbooks the other two classes had, the total of those two classes ended up being 76 students. She then also handed me a worksheet and asked me to read aloud so the children could hear the way I pronounce the words. After finishing the story, we read it again. This time I read a sentence and the students repeated what I said and tried to mirror my accent. After completing that, students read the story aloud again without hearing me pronounce it first. Following this, I went through two matching definition activities with the kids. They understood most of the words that were asked but I did have to try to explain and act out the idea of the word promptly. Then the main teacher attempted to get the class to call out answers to open ended questions. The kids looked like they would rather die then answer one of the questions, which is something I think most American students occasionally feel in class as well. Eventually she decided to assign it as homework that I will review with them tomorrow. Then moved on doing revision for the state exams they took last term.
Tomorrow, I’m planning to go through the next section of the workbook as well as reviewing the question they’re hopefully completing.