Monday, September 20, 2010

Essay Writing & Mannit Day

Not too much has changed in the past week and a half. School continues to be hectic and the weekends have flown by. Fortunately, my mood has dramatically improved. One of our two buses was working for most of last week, leading to shorter classes and my happiness. I spent last week going over the basics of grammar. The review was a necessity and went relatively well. The material was certainly successful in putting many of my students to sleep. I’m proud to say that I have learned 120 or so of my 140 students’ names. Getting to know them has made my job more fun and has been helpful for classroom management. I have definitely come to see the need for discipline and have been demanding more respect as a teacher. Luckily, I am not hated by all just yet. During the assembly today, one of my students asked me, “Miss, do you have children?”. When I told her that I did not, she whispered to me “Well, then do think I could be your daughter?” I laughed and told her she was too old to be my daughter but we could be sisters. My roommates found it creepy but I think it was sweet. Another student wrote in his journal, “I like you Miss, you are my mother of English”. It was reassuring to me that even though I can be a total bitch in class at times, some students still like me enough to want to be my child.

This week is designated to the Social Science department. This is great news to me because it somehow means that we only have two real days of classes. Last night, the head of the English department paid my roommates and I visit to let us know that there would be an essay-writing contest in our classes today and tomorrow. We couldn’t help but laugh when we read the theme and criteria. The theme is, "Responsible citizens contributing to the prosperity of the Nation". Seeing as many of my students had trouble answering simple questions such as “What is something you are good at?” and groan when asked to write more than a full sentence, I felt that the expectations were slightly unrealistic. The grading rubric described standards that I think might have challenged a number of people from my graduating class at college. After explaining the vocabulary, question and components of an essay, the chaos began. With myself as the only teacher and 35 students in each of my classes, it was nearly impossible to be of assistance and answer questions while maintaining any kind of order in the rest of the classroom. All I can say is- I did my best.

Because we are lucky enough to have such a diverse staff, on Wednesday, the teachers will split up by country and teach students about our respective cultures and history. My three roommates and I will be giving a brief US history and pop culture lesson to students from grades 9-12. To my surprise, Marshallese teenagers seem to know more about pop culture than we do. According to journal entries I have read, my student’s lives are highly influenced by pop-sensations: Justin Beiber, Hannah Montana and the rest of the Disney crew. Perhaps I can convince some of my grade 9 to put on a Justin Beiber concert (as they do sometimes between classes). Although I have been living in the RMI for about 2 months, there is plenty for me to learn about Marshallese culture. Luckily, I will have an opportunity to learn more about Marshallese customs this week. Friday is “Manit” day. This is a day set aside for the celebration of Marshallese culture. I hear there will be delicious food and activities such as coconut husking contests and basket weaving. It should be an interesting week…

No comments:

Post a Comment