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Showing posts from September, 2013

Train stories: Part 1

My first trip to Cape Town was in 2009. A friend and I needed to get visas from the American Embassy. We made it to Westlake with the help of a friend and when we were granted permission to enter USA we decided to find our way around Cape Town by using public transport. We took a taxi from Westlake and got off in Retreat. From Retreat train station we headed for the southern suburbs where we would get off in Rondebosch to meet a friend at the University of Cape Town.
This was my first encounter with Cape Town’s public transport system. When we used the taxi in Retreat people weren’t shocked that a white person (the friend I was travelling with) used public transport. Neither of us knew where we were going but fortunately I speak isiXhosa and Afrikaans and we managed to get where we were going with ease. The train trip was the most interesting.
It was quiet. It was a mid-morning train after the hustle and bustle of rush hour with people getting to work. I was confused by the silence.…

Surviving term three and school camps

Third term is almost over. It’s been a crazy term with school camps, debating competitions, hosting the Open Book Festival at our school, disciplinary hearings (I wasn’t involved), interpersonal challenges with staff members, failed tests and assignments, performances of Macbeth with bursting flames in the school hall and endless shouting monologues addressed to teenagers (who don’t listen to crazy teachers anyway) and good doses of laughter some of the time.
Third term is a trying term. It’s the most exhausting for everyone, teachers and pupils alike. It’s my least favourite term. The kids struggle with understanding why they should care about learning when there are no exams. The momentum and interest in work lags and teaching is like sucking blood out of a stone. And not to mention all the marking that still needs to happen.
In the efforts of infusing some excitement in the kids, school camps have been the remedy. The Grade 10s had a leadership camp and the Grade 9 girls had a thr…