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Showing posts from February, 2013

Teaching is not for the faint-hearted

From time to time my job as a teacher reminds me how naive I was in becoming a teacher. Today was one of those days. What started off as a normal day began to spiral out of control at 10am. My first lesson was with the Grade 8s-my favourite class. The lesson unfolded as I had hoped with no suprises.

It was a small whisper that jolted me into reality. One of the girls came to me whispering that she needed to tell me something. She isn't the shy type so I was confused by her approach. I listened carefully as she told me "Ma'am, X has dagga in his blazer."

I didn't know whether I should believe her or not so I carried on with the lesson by walking around the classroom checking work and making comments until I walked up to X's table. I asked him if I could chat to him outside. While he stood up looking confused I leaned over and took his blazer before he could. While walking to the door I felt him try to tug the blazer from my hand. As we stood outside I started …

Life is

In a poetry lesson with the Grade 10s, we discussed the images Langston Hughes uses in the poem Life is fine. I encouraged the class to write their own poem starting with the words Life is... After many grumbles and blank faces I went around the classroom trying to create a poem where each person had to think of an imagine of what life is on their way to school: "life is a creased suit...life is a cup of coffee...life is butterflies in your tummy as your crush walks by...life is a bus, a train ticket...life is traffic...life is rice crispies...life is black and white...life is hugs...Life is a snail"

Eventually some got into the rhythm of the conversation and wrote a few lines. While the kids wrote their poems quietly, penning down their musings about their teenage life, I decided to make use of the rare occasion.

life is...
ink in my skin
kink in my hair
watching flowers bursting, giving birth to flames
life is laughter dancing through my body, wiggling my toes,
hugs squeezing …

The honeymoon phase...is over!

It's now the fourth week of the term. Everytime people have asked me how the teaching is going, I've been telling them I'm going through the honeymoon period. These past few weeks have been too good to be true (pardon the cliche). I have somewhat managed to keep my feet on the ground and the reinvention I attempted in the first week of term seems to have been successful and exhausting. My Grade 8s are absolute nerds which means they are always eager to learn (and write beautiful notes in their books and answer questions in class by putting their hands up). The Grade 10s are somewhat mature (which is expected since I taught most of them last year and they think they know me well enough to get away with certain behaviour). Unfortunately, the Grade 9s are officially responsible for the end of my honeymoon phase. The problem began yesterday.

Every Tuesday I teach until 4:15pm. Granted I have 2 hours to spare during the morning because the kids are at sport for an hour hence th…