An important and extremely useful part of PST here in SA is actually getting into the classroom. Over the course of 4 weeks, we have a chance to visit a SA school about 8 times-to observe and to teach. Now, schools here are much different than schools in the US. Part of the reason PC is in SA is to help train and motivate teachers. After being at a SA high school a few times, I am beginning to see exactly why I am here.
SA school goes from Grade R (kindergarten) to Grade 12, which learners take the Matric exam to pass out of school. Obviously they may then go to university if they want, or a technical college. Children begin to take classes in English in Grade 3, and continue with an “all English” education through Grade 12. However, we have been told that often classes are still taught in the mother tongue throughout the grades, even though all the tests are in English. Unfortunately, having English as the medium of communication in class and on tests causes a lot of problems, especially when children do not speak English at home. Just imagine how difficult school would be if you had to take all your classes in Spanish from 3rd grade, and not being a native Spanish speaker. Thus, children often struggle just with the language, let alone the content. While English is important here in SA, being one of the official languages, it has made things more difficult in the schools.
Anyways, apart from the school I am observing/teaching at, we also have our cluster days at a primary school. On Monday, many of the classes were out when we were eating lunch. This lead from being stared at, to being talked to, to being high fived, to suddenly having a huge group of kids wanting to touch me and talk to me. A few of us made the mistake of taking out our cameras to take pictures. About a half second after producing my camera, the kids swarmed in an instant flash mob! They ran over, yelling at me to take their picture. A few other PCTs and I were quickly flattened against a wall with a mass of children in front of us. We had to work hard to escape, and I learned that having a camera out around kids means you will never get a candid shot. J And you flash mobbed.
But it was kind of neat to feel famous for a bit. 😉
It is crazy windy out tonight, and the power just went out. I have my candle lit and am headed to bed, I suppose. Nothing better to do when the power is out. J