27 January 2010 – Another day teaching

(Here’s another long forgotten blog entry)

The morning came at 7:45 how delicious to sleep in! At least I had prepared my notes for class the night before. I had to rush to get ready for my 9:35 class. It was going to be a long day with three double periods so I made sure to have a big breakfast.

I got to the classroom block early and at under the tree to wait for breakfast to be finished. The masters talked about playing football (soccer) against Green Green, our rivals in town. One master tried to recruit me for goalie. I told him Green Green would certainly win if I were goalie. I offered to be cheerleader.

When I entered class 3B1 I saw that the same tiredness that has been plaguing me for the past few days was also effecting the students. The end of January is the beginning of the hot season and even the Ghanaians are effected by the heat. I saw it when I passed 3A there was no teacher and some students were talking in groups, others had their heads down on their desks, sleeping and others were just staring out into space. The eyes of the students in front of me had a glazed look.

Shock therapy was recommended. I put up a flip chart paper with a pop quiz about spreadsheets. We talked about this at the end of last term but I am sure that most of them have forgotten it. Maybe showing them what they don’t know will wake them up. Today it worked. Everyone was awake and asking questions. Is this a class test? What is this? Have we talked about spreadsheets madam? Will this count? I told them to think of it as a pre test. The class settled down and answered the questions. Then they all listened for the answers in that day’s class.

On my way to my next class I passed 3A again. They still had no teacher and more of the students were sleeping. Well if they sleep now maybe they will be awake for my class at the end of the day.

My next class, 2C, was as bored and tired as the other two. Time for an ENERGIZER! I made everyone stand to do the peel banana energizer.

Peel banana

Slice banana

Eat banana

Go bananas

This energizer starts with hands over your head palms together then you move one arm down at a time saying peel banana, peel peel peel banana and ends with everyone going bananas.  I think the kids like it because I really do go bananas. I needed the energizer myself because I had to lecture the first half of the class and I hate lecturing. Twenty minutes into my lecture I handed students chalk and asked them to put ways to format text on the board. Then I finished the lecture on how and why to format text in a document.

The second half of the class they worked on an ICT crossword puzzle.  I had them work in groups because it was something new.  As with any new task they required a lot of assistance to understand the concept but once they got it they were engaged. As I walked among the groups some needed more help on how to do the puzzle, others wanted me to answer the clues for them and a few just wanted to show me that their answers. The bell rang for 15 minute break and no one moved. They wanted to finish the puzzle. SUCCESS!

During long break I went back under the tree and ate a PB and J sandwich. Master Morris asked me what I was eating. I also shared with him the iconic nature of and PB and J sandwich in the USA. Clement said he was going to go home and try it. Cultural exchange under the baobab tree.

When I went to 3A the previous master was still there; he had kept them through the break. Drats! Now they wouldn’t even have had a chance to get up and walk around. The pop quiz shock treatment didn’t work. Peel bananas didn’t work. I lecture on creating formulas in a spreadsheets and even had them go up to the board to put their names in specific cells. They love writing their names on the board. Nothing was working to get them engaged so I gave up and had them do the crossword puzzle even though it was for the second year students.

You can’t win them all!

Guess what I did after classes were over?