First Week of School
I woke up Monday morning nervous, excited, unsure, but so ready to begin this crazy adventure in teaching at my new school. I woke up at 6:30 took my bucket bath, put on my Kitenge, and walked the 50 meters to school. School began with a parade. A parade is where all the students line up in their classes, they sing the Uganda National Anthem, hear announcements, and since I work at a Christian school they pray. Monday’s was a little different because they welcomed everyone back to school and introduced the new teachers, two others and me. The students were so excited to have me at the school, which made me become less nervous and more sure of my place here. The rest of the day I spent observing in the P4 class. I also met two beautiful students named Joshua and Hanifah who read with the entire lunchtime. Which was two hours today instead of one. It happens, so you make due and read with students. Hearing them read my Judy Moody book got me so excited about beginning teaching, and yet again my nervous went down and I became even more sure of everything around me. My day ended at 3 and I heading back home to fetch water, and work on some items for the Peace Corps. I cooked dinner at around 7:30 and watched a movie to end my night. Tuesday I observed in the P5 class all day, interviewed my head teacher, typed up things for the School Profile Tool we have to do, and headed home to prepare in order to begin the EGRA on Wednesday. So, Wednesday morning I made the very short trek to school and hang out in the library while I waited for the P4 class list. Once I got the class list I began to EGRA the students. The EGRA is an Early Grade Reading Assessment. Every education volunteer has to EGRA 100 students at the beginning of term 1. For new volunteers, you will administer the EGRA and than begin teaching. I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday EGRAing 30 students. The EGRA is very important but very tedious so in order for me to stay sane I EGRA 10 students a day and when I am not administering the EGRA I am working on lesson plans. The EGRA consists of reading letter names, letter sounds, none words, a small passage, and answering comprehension question about the passage. My students struggle with sounds, which is where I hope to help them improve. I plan to begin teaching Phonics to the students and teachers in order for them to continuing even after I complete my service. I also plan to begin small group reading intervention in order to really focus more one on one time with students who may need more help then others. I am very excited about beginning to teach. I hope that I am able to do so on February 22.
This first week of school was a little slow moving but I believe that I have gotten a lot done. I am beginning to fall head over heels with this beautiful school and the sweet pupils I get to teach. Despite my nerves at the beginning of the week, and the unknown of what I was even supposed to be doing the week ended very well. And I realized the entire time I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing; mu nerves had just gotten the best of me. I was supposed to be doing what I saw best for me and the school, completing the School Profile Tool, and beginning the EGRAs which I did all of those things. So here I am hopping to finish the EGRA as soon as I can so I can begin teaching Phonics and Small Group Reading Intervention.
My goal for week two is to begin building relationships with the teachers I work with, to EGRA all of P4 and begin EGRAing P5. I will also hopefully be getting put onto the school timetable so I can begin teaching. I plan to teach P4 whole class phonics, small group reading intervention to 8-12 students in P4, and whole class read aloud in P5, which will include comprehension as well. I cannot wait to begin teaching and partnering with the teachers to continue molding the minds of our students. I don’t plan to fix their school because I don’t believe that it needs to be fixed. They have teachers that have so much enthusiasm and truly enjoy teaching those sweet humans. Instead I plan to partner with the school to share with the teachers what I know about literacy, and hopefully with them help to improve the literacy skills of the students. I can’t wait to share with you all some other plans and goals that the Education sector of Peace Corps Uganda has.
The next few months I am going to be doing a series of blogs about my house hold chores. I will do a blog about bucket bathing, using a pit latrine including how to clean it, doing laundry, and cooking a meal. Stay tuned, because I know many of my readers have wanted to know what my daily chores are like. Which speaking of I need to go fetch so water. Until next time my friends. Happy reading.