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Showing posts from January, 2012

Communicating the expectations

Another long week and I am learning from my teaching experience everyday! Last week was challenging. My learners have been testing my patience, mostly a process of negotiating expectations, verbally and implicitly.

In absolute frustration, I spoke to my sister who always helps me see things clearly. This time she spoke to me as though she’s been sitting in my classroom silently, observing the crazy antics that have been unfolding between my learners and I. We decided I need a strategy for communicating effectively with my learners, and being consistent in what I expect from them; giving reasons for these expectations. So for the past week, much of my teaching has been infused with comments about “is this behaviour acceptable for Grade 9s? Why do you need me to shout before you pay attention?...I think you can do better than that!”...the list is endless.

This is going to be an ongoing battle because it requires clear communication and understanding as the teacher-learner relationship i…

Questions in the classroom

One of the joys of teaching is of course, the children. Everyday for the past week, I have had many children come in and out of my classroom. I have made attempts at remembering their names, but what remains in my memory the most are my children’s questions and the quirky behaviour that irritates me more than it should because I am teaching teenagers with raging hormones.

There seems to be a cloud of inscrutability following me around at school. My learners have been desperate to find out more about me beyond the teacher persona that I have been trying to create. I was asked about my accent: why do I speak like a white person? Another question had to do with whether I went to a private school or not. Before I could answer this question, one of the children volunteered the information, “no man, she mos went to a model c school”. I’ve also been asked several times to translate the meaning of the tattoo on my arm. And of course, why did I choose to become a teacher? One of the learners de…

Surviving my first week as a new teacher

I am finally a teacher. It’s been a surreal experience and I can’t seem to find the right words to describe everything. I’m exhausted and excited all at the same time. My mind hasn’t stopped ticking since Monday when I met the team of staff members. I won’t be able to capture everything about the school in this post, so I’ll just introduce the school for now and all the stories will unfold in the next few weeks!

I’ll start from the very beginning. I am a new teacher in a high school in Cape Town. This is the school’s second year of operation. There are 12 teachers and 260 learners and we don’t have learners in Grade12. We have a partnership with one of the best schools in the Western Cape (about 5 times bigger than our school) which means interesting conversations about planning and developing a curriculum for a new school.

Some of the values underpinning the school are hard-work, respect and responsibility. The purpose of the school is to create a culture of teaching and learning for …

Hello Cape Town

I did it. I finally left Grahamstown after 6 years that appear to have been a lifetime. It’s almost been a week. The infatuation I had with Cape Town a few months ago has turned into a marriage. Since my arrival I’ve been convincing myself that there is no date of departure unlike previous encounters with this city. I have to make peace with the fact that I am here, indefinitely. My experience thus far can be summarised as follows: entertainment, mobility and a room of one’s own.

Entertainment: It’s still holiday season for most people and tourists are everywhere. The holiday rush never seems to subside. The weather has been mostly amazing and I have been lucky to enjoy a sunny walk every single day since I’ve been here. While trying to be studious, working on my thesis, my background noise was drumming and singing from a performance near the Slave Lodge and the Company Gardens. While having a lunch date with a friend at Cafe Mozart, the background entertainment were various performanc…