Thursday, 3 March 2011
OMG I lost my sense of humour (temporarily you’ll be relieved to know!)
It was probably a bad idea from the start but I have always wanted to teach a lesson ‘under the big tree’. ‘Under the big tree’ is where important meetings are held and holds a mythological quality for me. It just sounds so idyllic and reminds me of the Enid Blyton book ‘The Enchanted tree’. So after the thunderstorm I took my huge class of 57 senior 4 students ‘under the big tree’ to play name games. Well that was a bad idea. For starters I just cannot seem to pronounce names correctly over here so every time I tried the whole 57 of them burst into giggles. Secondly, trying to learn 57 names in one go was just a ridiculous idea. And I used to think my class of 28 kids in the UK was a lot. Well 57 is too many, learning all their names is akin to climbing mount Everest, especially when I only see them for an hour a week.
Lastly they kept calling me umuzungu after I had told them not to and that was it. It was like showing a red rag to a bull. I felt myself shaking with rage....my voice got tight and I’m sure I turned purple. I somehow managed not to lose it entirely but I was definitely cracking. I am normally such a calm person, I don’t know what came over me. I hardly ever get really really mad. I gave them a lecture on being respectful to teachers and all the time there was this angry little voice in my head whispering ‘what makes you think you can do this, you crazy misguided fool...why did you chose to turn your life upside down?!’
But fortunately karma is alive and well in Rwanda at the moment, for every bad moment there are two good ones. Firstly Senior 5 made my day because they remembered all of what I had taught them on learning styles in the previous lesson and they worked really hard. And secondly my neighbours greeted me with a friendly smile and a handshake when I got home and invited me to sit with them outside for a little while. So at least I ended the day by returning to my normal white colour and a smile on my face. Alls well that ends well, Rome wasn’t built in a day... Watch out Senior 4, a lesson on classroom rules will be next ;-) This umuzungu is persistent if nothing else.