I believe that the past couple of days have been really challenging for Hauwo, Jeffery and the rest of the Elementary teachers. I can see it in their faces. Sometimes they are engaged, understand what I am explaining and seem really excited. Other times they just look at me like i’ve come in from another planet and it’s my duty to torture them. Hopefully we can end this time with them feeling mostly the former and forgiving me for putting them through the latter.
The teachers received the basic overview of the materials well. And I think they especially liked when I explained how it all fit together with the government given guide for planning an Elementary curriculum. However at first, they were overwhelmed with the sheer volume of materials and resources. I had tried to make it as simple as possible but like many things that was easier said then done. However, Hauwo assured me that once the teachers had started working a bit more with the curriculum, they were able to see how it fit together and the repetition in each year and each term within the year. I hope that if these teachers, along with Hauwo and Jeffery understand how to use the curriculum, then they can pass that knowledge along to the other teachers who will be coming behind.
I like to teach by doing so along with the overview of the curriculum, I wanted the teachers to get their hands dirty and actually use the curriculum to make lesson plans. We started yesterday by working through some lesson plans together and then slowly each of the teachers tried lesson plans on their own. I then gave them feedback and other example lesson plans. We went through this exercise twice and today after some more review I gave them 5 different lessons to work on. They have been working all morning and will work part of the afternoon before I go over and review their work with them. Unfortunately some complications arise because the subjects Maths and Religion are generally already set out clearly with what is to be taught and when it is to be taught, but the other subjects are a little more loosely defined. And the teachers who are currently in the classroom have been flying by the seat of their pants for so long, that it is hard to grab a hold of and work within the comfortable constrains of a curriculum. Instead of looking at a blank, empty day and thinking of ways to fill it, the teachers have to conform their work to the schedule they chose and the themes and activities they worked so hard to come up with. I’m still not quite sure if they see all the activities listed in the curriculum as the work they did in all their theme webs. It’s an ongoing process.
In general I am pleased with the progress and Hauwo and Jeffery are really encouraging. They know the amount of work they put into the TPPS curriculum when they worked through that with Anne so even if the other teachers can’t see it, Hauwo and Jeffery know the work that went into the printed form of this curriculum. My own personal challenge is to stop looking at all the flaws. Each time I explain something, I find spacing that isn’t quite right or wording that could have been better or something else that’s a bit off. Some of the things are worth changing but most of it is just finicky things that should be left alone. If I had another year to work on it, I would probably still be finding things to change.
While the teachers have been working on the lesson plans, I have been playing electrician again. Hauwo and Jeffery did the first couple of lessons with the teachers but have been my assistants this morning getting the house regulator changed and this afternoon they will help me work on the literacy office regulator. The house power seems to be quite happy so now it’s time to put the old regulator up in the literacy office to try and figure out why their power isn’t happy. Nothing has blown up or fried yet so hopefully we can keep it that way.
In some ways I feel totally unqualified for all the parts of my job. Literacy and curriculum, i’ve learned by doing, through the STEP course and the great mentors i’ve had along the way. But I know I still have a long way to go and i’ve just scrapped at the ice berg. And I would never call myself an electrician even though now I am pretty comfortable making happy currants with multiple truck batteries and a basic regulator.
So now once these emails are sent it will be back to the literacy office for an afternoon of electrical work and elementary lesson plan review. All in a days work for the village.