Happy summer break!!! Today was the last day of school before a month-long break, so as you might expect, not much was accomplished. The whole day was a little weird for me because even though I still have 2-1/2 weeks left here, there are a lot of people who I’m not going to see again. Honestly, I prefer it this way because now I’ll have a much easier time sneaking out. I don’t like making a big deal over goodbyes and would much rather focus my energy on saying goodbye to the people who I actually built relationships with. If school was still in session when I was leaving, they would have said something at assembly, and I probably would have had to give a speech again. Since I’m not leaving yet, nothing was even mentioned to the kids. Perfect!

I think I would be in much worse shape emotionally if there weren’t summer classes with the class 9 and 10 kids. They’re the ones who I’ve spent the most time with, and I get to see all of them again (for better or worse). That means I’ll get a chance to say goodbye to them without the whole school around, so it can be simple and lowkey.

Each day, a different class is in charge of leading assembly. It’s cool because all of the kids get used to talking in front of a crowd and speaking into a microphone. The younger ones are so bold! They get up there and shout out whatever they have to say with no fear. The absolute best is when the upper kindergarten class leads. The kids are 4ish years old and are leading prayers and songs in English in front of the whole school like it’s nothing.

The class 10 boys leading the assembly, along with one of the teachers on guitar.

Anyway, today, the class 10 boys took the lead. It was so much fun watching them lead the little kids in the songs and dances. I felt like a proud mother watching them. They got so into it too! The day was also fun because the kids got to wear normal clothes to school, and the girls didn’t have to wear their hair in braids (usually their hair has to be in two braids, and they have to be tied with ribbons in their house color). It’s crazy how different people can look with different clothes and hairstyles! I loved seeing how at ease they were in their normal clothes, and it made me feel like I was getting to see their true personalities.

Assembly went a little long… if “a little” is 50 additional minutes (it’s usually 40 minutes long). That means first and second periods were both shot. That left me with class 9 English during 3rd and class 8 science during 4th. I spent a lot of time thinking about what we should do on the last day, and finally, I decided that we should play a game. Let’s be real – no one wants to do actual work on the last day before a holiday break, and any attempts on my part to make that happen would just lead to frustration. I wasn’t interested in that, so instead, we played Pictionary in both classes.

I eventually realized that even though I thought we were just playing a game to kill time, it’s actually really good for improving the kids’ vocabularies. I had to be very strategic about which words I gave to which kids because at the very least, the drawing kid has to know what the thing is. Mostly, I used animals and random objects. I made the mistake of giving one kid “doctor”, and he stood motionless at the board for at least 2 full minutes before refusing to even try and sitting down.

At lunch, the kids headed back into the chapel to eat all together. It was cool to see them sharing with each other and offering to share with the teachers too. I turned everything down except for this little cheeto-looking thing that was forced on me… and that almost burned my tongue off it was so spicy… which is precisely why I said no to everything else.

Pictionary is also good for developing creativity and critical thinking skills, which is probably why so many of the kids were so bad at it. They couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that they didn’t need to draw perfect pictures. They just had to be good enough for someone to guess the right thing. One kid panicked about the word “cow”, and I went up and told him to start drawing a four-legged animal, and someone would guess it. Sure enough, it worked. They’re so used to trying to get everything “right” rather than just trying their best and seeing how it goes.

Me with some of my teacher friends! People here love to take pictures at every opportunity, so this is our “the kids are eating lunch” group shot because that clearly cannot be allowed to pass without documentation.

In Science class, I mixed things up by adding in words like “global warming”, “acid rain”, and “eutrophication”. The girl who drew eutrophication did an incredible job… I should have taken a picture. The kids knew exactly what she was drawing but couldn’t remember the word (of course).

All in all, I would count the day as a big success. For the first time, I had the attention of every kid in both classes! I know that sounds like a lame thing to celebrate, but kids who haven’t participated AT ALL for the last 5 weeks were engaged! It felt like a huge win, especially after I convinced myself that they were learning, and we weren’t just killing time.

Now, I’m going to enjoy my one week of class-free time and get to work on my architecture project!

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