Reaching Out 2 The World

The Ugly

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Sadly the school day wasn’t much better today and several things led me to be very thankful I’d be taking a break. Their teacher again didn’t show up and I was left with a chaotic group of kids who half wanted to learn and half wanted to kill each other. The math teacher came by in the morning to drop off a test he didn’t quite understand. He printed the test off the internet and it was titled, “5th grade math Olympiad”. He saw that as something a 6th grader should have no problem doing (even though he gave it to me because he couldn’t solve it). I worked on it while the rest of the class took it. When he came back I told him straight up that it was far too difficult. The test wasn’t easy. Given in the USA most high school level students wouldn’t pass. There was, what we’d call, several loaded questions. Questions that had several different parts to it that if you didn’t know one part you’d have no chance of solving it. I don’t remember all the questions but one of them read, “What is the ones digit of the product of the first 4 prime numbers?” A suitable question for these students would have been more along the lines of, “What is the ones digit in the number 345?” These students are constantly being put in a position to fail, and no matter how many times I talk to the teachers about it, they just don’t get it. What kind of person is going to ‘want’ to learn in an environment they know they have no chance to be successful in. Another questions read, “How many palindromes are there between 100 and 200 that are divisible by 9?” I can tell you right now there isn’t one part of that question that was appropriate for these kids. Besides being difficult and unfair there were a few questions that would take a long time to answer even if you had all the skills and knowledge to solve them.

Later in the day while I was working with a few students two girls got in a big fight. They were dead set on killing each other and as I walked over to break it up several students joined in to help separate them. I have no idea why they were fighting but the girls were separated and cooling down and things were heading back to normal when all of a sudden the same two girls started going at it again. I again separated it but had no intention of beating them. They were also still fuming and I was worried they’d go at it again. I sent Chester (one of the most annoying kids in the school) next door to get the Xhosa teacher. She can be mean but I knew her arrival would bring the class back to sanity. Mean while as she took too long to come I could see the fight beginning to start back up again. I told Kwanele to inform the girls that if they continued to fight that I’d be bringing them to the principal’s office. This is a big deal back home and an even bigger deal here. Teachers solve their problems by beating the @$%^ out of the kids every time they misbehave. So of course seconds later the one girl punches the other girls right in the mouth. I walked right over grabbed them by the arms and dragged them right to the office. Half the class followed us to the office and one of them stayed back to translate what happened. The principal told me she’d take care of it and I went back to the classroom. As soon as we got back to the class I had everyone in their seats not saying a word. Meanwhile, as I was talking to them not 1, not 2, but 4 teachers strolled into the classroom. Where the heck were they all day!? She yelled at them in Xhosa and I didn’t understand much of it. At one point she did talk to them about why I’m here and how disrespectful it is to fight in front of me. She has a point… but I’m just as disappointed in the teachers at this point. At this point I started thinking about how much I could use a break from the school.

After school the normal group of students came over and several additional students tagged along. I figured it was one of my last days and if they wanted to see where I lived it’d be ok. When we got back to my place there was 15 of them in total. Some of them played Monopoly, some of them played with the Flipcam, some of them took pictures with the camera. Unfortunately, somehow… one of them deleted all the pictures I had on my camera from Tuesday and Wednesday. Ohh man that’s frustrating. I didn’t realize how many pictures I was missing until it came time to write this and I realized how much I relied on pictures to help me recall stories for the blog. Patrick was able to recover some of them but they somehow managed to really mess things up. They lost their privilege to use the cameras for the rest of the day.

On the bright side of things it was Wednesday which meant Frisbee in the PM and it was my last night with the team. We planned to play Ultimate for half the night and drinking Frisbee games with the rest of the night. I’m looking forward to sharing some new games with my team back home! After we had some fun at the fields we all went to Ginos for some pizza and drinks. The night really did make up for the morning!

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