I made it to school around 8:30 today and there was chaos as usual. I’ll jump right to my highlight of the day. I got to introduce the comic book idea to the kids. I started with 6 kids but it quickly grew to over 20. Luckily, I got A LOT of supplies. I first tried to explain to them the layout of a story. I drew them the bell curve hill that has the intro on the left, the climax at the peak, and the conclusion on the right. I then explained that our story needs a setting, characters, as well as a problem and a resolution. These were new words to most of the students and most of them did what they always do when someone speaks English to them. They nod and say, “Yes Teecha”. All that really means is that they have no idea what you’re talking about. My first plan was to have them work together to write the story. This resulted in two of them writing while the rest watched. They were also just copying word for word the text from the book. They had a hard time realizing that I wanted them to be creative and make up their own story. Plan number two was to give each of them a piece of paper, and draw out their ‘scene’. I figured we could add text afterwards. I wanted them to each draw their own characters or at least modify the character they were sketching, but the best I could get was them to draw the exact character from the comic book or magazine with a different background. Some of them even put the same dialogue in the bubbles haha. The actual comic book is going to be all over the place and have characters from “Dragon Ball Z”, “The Lion King”, and the comic, “Boy Hero”. I saw one kid making bubbles letters and I asked him if he’d like to make the title and cover page. Up to this point I’ve given the directions very slowly to them and tried my best to keep things simple. I even drew mock drawings to show them a rough idea. So, I grabbed a crayon and wrote on a piece of paper, “Title” (where it would go) and the words cover page underneath it”. He spent the rest of the class and had written in bubble letters, “Title Cover Page”. I think I’ll just keep it. You know what, at least no one was fighting and I think some even learned some new terms.
I spent the rest of the day with this class, which meant I was there for Social Studies. Oh my god is that teacher terrifying. The kids literally run in fear when they hear his voice or see him coming. He is big and has a very deep voice and speaks methodically. His class time consisted of him handing back tests. He first called the students up one by one to receive their tests and then called out their names one by one so they could announce their grades. The class average was less than 30% but most kids didn’t really seem to care. He did however have some things to say to them once in a while, in Xhosa, that made them look rather upset. A couple students cried to themselves. There was one boy that got 8 out of 60 though and he did not cry. He really just didn’t seem to care. The other children say he’s just not good at English but it took me all of two seconds to see that he probably has a learning disability. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these students did, but there isn’t anyone to really help, and certainly hardly any way for him to catch up. I tried talking with him and helping him but his English is almost as bad as my Xhosa. He doesn’t really care either which doesn’t help (it’s easy to see he’s given up on trying because he knows it’ll just end in failure). They were given yet another test (seems like tests and work sheets are what they do) and I was trying to encourage him to at least finish it. By the way, I looked at both this test and the test they had taken early in SS and they are not easy. I don’t think I would have gotten an A on either one of them. As the period went on kids around him started to finish, while it was clear he couldn’t even read the test. It’s basically a free for all for them when they finish something which also meant any chance of him finishing was now lost. On a good note, he is one of the kids in the comic book group and he’s doing a great job.
The students got milk and bread at the end of today which is always interesting to watch. Several students walked home with me today and I asked questions about their families. I think tomorrow (Thursday) they might show me around after school.
I made it to Stellenbosch and got my thirty minutes of internet which again wasn’t enough to do everything I wanted to do. I’m sorry If I was talking to anyone when my time cut off. I’ll probably have more time this weekend.
I went to Frisbee again and felt really good at times and not so good at others. I’m hoping it’s just because I’ve been out for a while. I’m really out of shape too which doesn’t help. I think I’ll write a message to the Ship team about tonight’s practice and leave it out of the blog J
When I made it back to Kayamandi I took a long scolding hot shower. This wasn’t really by choice though. I never thought, while living in a township, my biggest problem would be figuring out the shower. The cold knob doesn’t work! It was so hot that I couldn’t even put my hands underneath it. I had to wait for the hot water to run out before I could actually step under. Do I feel bad about using up so much hot water? Little bit, but I feel worse about being burned alive.
Lelethu (whose name I can now pronounceJ) taught me some Xhosa tonight. She actually speaks English really well. And she told me that she attends a college in Cape Town…which means she takes the train to Cape Town every day. Why am I just learning this now! I told her she’ll have to ride with me on Friday as it’ll be my first time taking the train around here.