Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wild, Weary, Wonderful Wednesdays

Whew. What a Wednesday. I “slept in” until 6:15 and proceeded to spend the morning running about to prepare for the afternoon. Copying, planning, meeting, exploring, orienting…then it was lunch. As a faculty member of the Spiritual Committee (or “SpitCom”, as I’m told), I sat in on a meeting for the duration of my pasta and cheese meal, completely lost and wondering what I was doing besides holding down my chair at the head of the table.

I hurried off to the science building to set up the PowerPoint for that afternoon’s labs – all three of them. Mr. Mpiima had set me up with the safety lab slideshow and some handouts. Wahoo. First teaching experience. I stood behind the lecturer’s counter and looked out at the students’ desks. I’ve never been so intimidated by empty furniture. I turned on the projector, opened up the .ppt, and carefully laid out the handouts. The sophomores began to file in 7 minutes before the 1:10 scheduled start of Chemistry I lab. Ok, awkward stage; bring it on, I thought. A bell rang at 1:05. Five minutes until my first lab session. The students grew strangely quiet. I looked them over, confused. “Does this class start at 1:05 or 1:10?” I asked. 1:05. Of course. Deep breath. “Let’s begin with prayer.” I introduced myself as Miss Jessica – weird – and began reading through the slides. Sixty minutes slowly slipped away, taking two-and-a-half handouts and a lab walk-through with them. Whew. One down, two to go. I think I like this! The juniors seemed to follow on the sophomores’ heels.

Rewind and repeat with 15 instead of 20 students and a little less “shh”ing and glaring on my part. I remembered to learn names this time, but a reverberant room and new accents made strange names even stranger. “Brandon? Brendon? Oh, Wanjuki.” I still can’t understand how that sounded like Brandon.

One hour later: Physics I lab! I straightened my piles of handouts and navigated back to slide number one, waiting for the seniors to file in the door. Much to my chagrin, a very familiar group of sophomores plopped into their seats, loudly expressing their concern upon seeing the same slide that greeted them at the beginning of the Chemistry I lab. “Are we going to be doing the same thing???” they asked. “Well, uh, no! Of course not. Not exactly the same thing.” My brain started quarreling with my gut: Huh. Really? News to me, Jess. Who said this period was going to be different? “Let’s, uh, begin with prayer.” After a few more ums and uhs and much hand clasping/wringing, I began to ask each student’s name, home, and favorite hobby. Charmaine of Kenya likes to read. Ryan of Florida likes music. Yuot of Canada likes basketball. By the time we finished with names and intros, only fifteen minutes had crawled by. Uh-oh. Think quick! “Ok! Time for a quiz. I hope you guys were listening while we were doing introductions!” Of course they weren’t listening.
“Miss Charmaine: Where is Tracy from?”
“Very good, thank you Charmaine.”
“Mr. Ryan: What does Daniel like to do?”
“What does Daniel like to do?”
“You can ask a classmate for help.”
       “Daniel likes running and Facebook!”
“Thank you, Elana. Mr Ryan: What does Daniel like to do?”
“Uh, he likes music.”
“Well, that’s not one of the ones he mentioned. Miss Esther: What does Daniel like to do?”
“He likes running and Facebook.”
“Great! Mr. Ryan: What does Daniel like to do?”
“Good! And what else?”

Oh, dear. Sounds like the sophomores are going to be a fun bunch.

That took us to thirty minutes. Now I’m completely out of ideas. Surprise study hall! Too bad it’s only day two and these sophomores have barely an assignment to work on. I got to practice my librarian shooshing and glaring and “Face forward, please”. They did pretty well until the bell finally rang, and I was out the door.

I ran back to the apartment and quickly changed into sports gear. Our first PE class was starting in five minutes. Agh! After much schedule rearrangement, three periods were merged into one and Mr. Tyson and I now have the privilege of leading the entire student body – all 79 of them – through one hour of Physical Education. Whoa. Nothing makes you feel more like a sports jock than leading seven dozen teenagers through a series of jumping jacks. Halfway through the period, we were out of things to do. Well, this seems familiar. Name games don’t work with eighty people in a gymnasium, however. Open rec!

Two hours later, I headed to supper and sat in on the yearbook committee meeting and (again) contributed nothing. Two days, three committee meetings, and I’m convinced all these students do is plan things. Oi.

After computer lab supervision, it’s time for bed. Farewell, Wednesday. Let us battle again in one week.

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