Sorry I’ve been MIA the last couple of days. I’ve been crazy busy! I’m having trouble putting together a good schedule that allows me to get everything done each day and also get enough sleep. This week was so good though! I can’t believe that only one week of teaching has gone by (one day last week does not count). I feel like I’ve been in the classroom with these kids for like 3 months. You know what else is crazy? I’m giving a test next week. Me! A test!
I don’t know how often they do test weeks… every month maybe? Anyway, they have a test in every subject next week, and since I’m currently the English Lit teacher, I’m giving the English Lit test. HA! I have NO idea how this is going to go. It’s only for 10 points, but they have 40 minutes to do it. I’m not really sure what that means for how I was supposed to write the questions. I personally think that the tests I wrote are incredibly easy and that if everyone doesn’t get a 10 out of 10, it means that they somehow managed to put in less than zero effort. I’m sure that I’ll be unpleasantly surprised when I get the papers back though.
In other news, I think my campaign to be a normal person is slowly working. I’ve been going to the pre-school assembly every day, and the kids have stopped staring at me like I’m an alien. I even have some teacher friends!! All of the teachers have been so nice, and I’ve especially hit it off with a few of them. It’s so much more fun going to school each day when I know that I get to see my new friends. I mean, if we’re going to spend six days a week together (school on Saturdays though… like why?), we’d better like each other.
Besides people starting to treat me more normally, I’m realizing that there are some things that I thought were special but were actually just normal. For example, bringing me hot milk every day at school. Okay, so I might be the only one with a special order for milk instead of tea (though honestly, they might as well just give me tea… it’s all the same to me now), but ALL of the teachers get tea delivered to them during school. How was I supposed to know? You don’t see teachers in the US getting teacup deliveries in the middle of the day. That’s a thing here though, and after I realized the truth, it made me start looking more closely at everything.
There are a lot of things that just come down to manners and the way that people are taught to be polite here. People are always offering things to others, especially food. If someone is eating lunch, they offer it to everyone else around. It’s not just an “asking to be polite but you should say no to be polite”. It’s a “please, have some. Seriously, I want you to”.
The kids are taught to have respect for all adults. When a teacher enters the room, everyone stands up and greets her/him with a simultaneous “good morning, ma’am” or “good morning, sir” and remains standing until you give them permission to sit. They ask for permission before entering or leaving the room. At the end of class, they stand up as you’re leaving and give a “thank you, ma’am” or “thank you, sir”. Here, like in Ghana, the kids are always expected to do things to help out. They’re responsible for keeping their classrooms clean, they offer to fetch and carry things for you, and you can ask them to help you with practically any task, no matter how random, and they’ll do it. Don’t get me wrong; they’re not perfect. They’re definitely still kids and don’t always do what they should, but there’s a respect and willingness to help that are just trained into them. It’s very interesting.