Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Just another day teaching in South Africa


Today is just going to be a short blog entry. In class the kids were reciting the alphabet. It was the same tune as ours BUT they pronounce some of the letters different so it sounds soooo different! I noticed while working with the children throughout these 5 weeks that I and E make the same sounds and they ask me which one I mean. There are also a few more I just can’t remember. Isn’t that kind of cool? It makes teaching a little bit more of a challenge, but it’s all good.
Let’s see. What are other phrases that I want to let you know about. Oh tekkies are sneakers. Kookies(sp) are markers. Also, today I got offered “cantaloupe” but that’s not what it's called here. They call it Spunk-Speck. It is Afrikans. One of the kids offered me one and asked if I have ever had it. While I was looking at it I was thinking to myself “hmm it looks like a cantaloupe.” Then I tried some and yup indeed it was haha.  Random thought I know. Thursday I am getting observed by professor for the last time. Last week she watched me for the first time. This time I am doing a large group life skills lesson so it will be a different atmosphere. I am hoping it goes well. At this point the kids are use to me and respect me somewhat, but kids will be kids so you never know until the day of!

Oh I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but I must say that Loyiso is such a cool kid and will be famous someday! This kid has bad ADHD. He is well behaved he just has a very hard time staying on task. He loves to draw and comes up with all these brilliant ideas! I mean brilliant. The littlest things will trigger these inventions. Today while reading he came up to me and told me an idea and said he got it from looking at a picture in the book we were reading. The other day after lunch he shows me a milk carton and asks if I will be here for show and tell because he is going to make this milk carton something amazing, but he can’t tell me. When we walk down the hall he always wants to talk. He is very tall and he told me, “Miss. Brown what if I keep growing? I will be able to BEAT everyone that I race.” He has such a great imagination. He also wants me to take him back to the USA so he can get a massage hahahaha. Oh, Loyiso. I could go on an on. I normally don’t post about specific kids, but he is something special.
Well that’s about it! I will be home in 2.5 weeks and then on to teaching kindergarten!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Last weekend! I think I am caught up!!


The highlight of my weeks are defiantly Weds when I get to help out with tap! I got a pair of shoes so I can dance along with them. At the very end after practicing the dance I taught them a new step and showed a few people what wings were. Their faces were priceless! A lot of them tried and it was so funny to watch! When I walked out EVERYONE wanted to see it. I am sure this Wednesday I will have to show everyone haha. Tap is one of my favorite things to do and to be able to help teach a class in South Africa is sooooo cool!! The kids also love that I am there watching and doing it with them : )

Last week teaching went well. I did my first supervised lesson on time in small groups and it went well. The kids are still crazy. We did painting on Fri and I had to take the paintings away from a few because they were ruining other peoples paintings. On Friday after school we had a games night. All the kids were welcomed to come to the school at 5:30-7(if they pained R35) to come play games created by the teachers, eat hot dogs, and play in the bouncy house and on the playground. We had a great turn out and made a good profit. At our station they children made hats. We found this old recycled paper with cool old flower patters. We pre-cut them so they made cones and the kids made the cones, stapled it, but streamers made out of paper on top and then we punched to holes and put elastic on them so they looked like party hats! The kids LOVED them! I thought it was cool how we made the streamers It was strips of recycled paper and we used scissors to curl it(like you do with ribbon).
                                                                                                                                                                                           
After games night I came home changed and we went out to the college bar The Rat and Parrot! Such a good time, but you guys don’t need details : )
We went to a bigger game park called Schotia. We drove around in a Landy. This drive was fantastic! It started at 2:30 and right off the bat we saw a whole pride of wild lions. They were bathing in the sun and up on the hill you can see the buck. The bucks were staring right at the lions. You could tell the lions weren’t going to attack them quite yet. The lions had cubs too! We got very close to a nursing lion. I got a video of it! We also got about 3 feet away from one. On this drive we saw rhino, all kinds of buck, giraffe, zebra, warthog, HIPPO, alligator hmm I am probably forgetting some. There were two hippos. They weren’t very active the first time we past the damn, but the second time they were very playful and active. Sadly at this time my camera died, BUT it was still so cool to see. They would open their mouths and chomp the water. Half way we stopped at this little house. It was like a western style bar. It was so cool. We also passed a collection of bones! On the way to dinner, we also passed the lions again. All of them, but the cubs were in the same spot. The cubs were all very close to the road playing with each other. It was so cute! They were pouncing and tackling each other. I got some video of it! We stopped at about 6:30 to eat dinner. It was a big hut, with a fire bit in the middle and little paths to different tables. The bathrooms were in the busy! There was a path that led inside a hill where the toilets were! It was so cool! We ate a traditional South Africa meal. We also got to know the people in our car a little bit better. There was a gay couple from Holland/Amsterdam and an older couple from Germany. They German couple spoke no English so our tour guide spoke both English and German. The gay couple spoke both(along with many other languages). Everyone was very friendly. After dinner we went on a spotlight NIGHT drive. The lions were in the same spot, but this time they were hunting the buck! They were all in a circle around the buck. There was also a little cub hunting a skunk hahaha. We could hear him yapping and running around. So any who this pack of lions were circling the buck and they went for the kill! Sadly thy didn’t make it : ( I personally was a little scared because I didn’t not want to hear the noises of the kill, BUT It would have been awesome to see. Did you know that only 30% of lion’s kills are successful? With that being said we were lucky to even see an attempt!  After we saw the attempted hunt we went back to camp and headed home. Such an AWESOME experience.

On Sunday we drove down to Port Elizabeth. Summer stayed there for 1 week before she came up here so she knew her way around. We wanted to go to a shop, but with the shops closing at 1 we didn’t make it in time, but it was ok! We got out at a shopping mall and walked around a bit then headed to a small game park. At this game park you drive yourself. We saw zebra, giraffe, rhino, and a lot of buck. We got to see them even closer than the other parks. A lot of them walked right up to the car. I wanted to pet them! It was pretty neat to be able to navigate it yourself! At the end of the drive we got to pet 2 Cheetahs! Yes you heard me right!! We went into the cage and got to sit with them and pet them! It was so cool and kind of scary! They were tamed, but at the same time they are never completely tamed. I can’t even put into words how cool it was! When we were finished with the Cheetahs we did a monkey walk. We crossed a ragged old swinging bridge(it reminded me of Indiana Jones) and did this walk through the woods. There were wooden boards throughout kinda like a boardwalk. Part of it overlooked the wild cheetahs and we managed to see a wild one! It was pretty cool, but sadly we didn’t see any monkeys L When we finished the monkey walk we headed home. Port Elizabeth is about 1:30 away from Grahamstown. It is where I flew into. On the way back we stopped to get a picture in front of the “Welcome to Grahamstown” sign and we stopped at Ginos(an Italian restaurant). They had AWESOME pizza. I got bacon, onion, and olives. They make the pizza on a wooden brick and stick it in a stone oven. The pizzas in South Africa are a little different. There isn’t a lot of sauce and the toppings are different. They are good, but I think the US has better : ) We went to Pick n Pay after dinner, returned the car then walked back. It was about 10:30 by the time this was all finished and I was so exhausted. I went to bed right away!

Since today is Monday I might as well update you on my teaching day. My teacher came up to me at 7:25(5 mins before school starts) telling me that she has an abscess in her tooth and she has to leave and won’t be back for the rest of the day. She gave me the lesson plans and I was on my own. With that being said the day went VERY well! I introduced a new classroom management technique. It gets them to be quiet faster than the bell, but like always they don’t stay quiet long, but hey we will work on it! Today was VERY hot so during dancing we sat and listened to music then did some fun dances like the Chicken Dance and Simon Says. It was crazy within 20 mins of school being out a crazy thunderstorm came through! Luckily I got a lift home. The lighting was so close with the thunder following seconds behind and sometimes! I can’t believe I am done teaching in 2 weeks! It has gone by so fast! I am also very excited to have my mom come down for a week and explore South Africa!

Weekend of Feb 11th


So this is from last weekend (Feb 11th) I can’t  wait until I am all caught up! I feel like I am leaving out so much which makes me sad!!

So this past weekend I had sooooo much fun!!!! We rented a car again. On Saturday we went to Kuantu Elephant Reserve and Kuantu Game Park. Both were AMAZING! At the elephant reserve we got a mini show and got to see just how smart elephants are. We got to ride an elephant and we also go to feed them!! All I can say is wow!! So when it came to riding the elephants I was at the end of the line of 5 people because I was scared. I know it sounds silly, but I am scared of heights. I also had a bad experience while riding a horse so I have been scared to ride a horse since and I mean HELLO an elephant is just a little bigger than a horse haha. Anyway, I’m at the end of the line then he calls me to go first! Ummm no? haha BUT I ended up doing it. I am pretty sure I cried a little bit. At first it felt like I was going to fall off. I was sitting on a blanket on the elephants back and holding on to the guide who was sitting in front of me. I didn’t feel very secure! After a while I got the hang of it! We went through a field that had zebra, buck, and other small game. The guide also told me about the elephants. Did you know that they have no bones in their feet? My guide was from Zimbabwe and his accent was kind of thick, but he was very nice! The name of my elephant was Amarillo(yes like the drink haha).The other guide took pictures which was really nice of him! He got some good ones. Sadly my camera died, BUT my roomies had theirs so it was all good! After we finished riding we got to feed them. When all that was finished we had about 2 hours to take a five min drive up the road to the game park where we would have a snack, go on a three hour game drive, and have dinner. Well thank goodness we had about 2 hours to get there! We ended up almost going to Port Elizabeth which is about an hour away. Oh remind you, we also got a little confused getting to the Elephant reserve as well. We aren’t very good at reading signs apparently. So yea we missed the sign for the game reserve and got there about an hour later. The same family that did the elephants with us were doing the game drive. They asked if we were following them. I jokingly said if we were we wouldn’t have gotten lost haha. The family is from Whales. There was what looked to be a 9 yr old boy, 6 yr old girl and mom and dad. They were very nice! The game reserve was sooooooo beautiful and relaxing. You walk in and it is like an elegant, welcoming hotel lobby. We hung around for about another hour and we had lovely snacks. Then it was time for the drive! For this drive we were driven around in a Landy. It is like the type you see on TV for the safaris! It was soooo cool, windy, bumpy! Holly and I sat in the way back. Apparently it is the worst place to sit because you get the most air, but it was a lot of fun! We got blankets halfway through because with the wind it was chilly. They call the brush the African Highway : ) We saw zebra, buck and a lot of other animals, but sadly no lions or giraffe. They saw the giraffes earlier and weren’t sure where they were. Our guide joked around and said maybe they took a vacation to the states. We also got to go to the cat sanctuary. There they had Cheetah, a pride of lions and a baby tiger. All but one of the lions was rehabbing to go back into the wild and you could tell! The little girl had a giraffe had on that had dangly legs and a long neck. The cats started following it! It was good for pictures, but scary! The cats starting growling and stalking the hat! The little boy also ran a few times when no running was allowed so it got the cats a little wound up haha. The sanctuary was so cool! One of the lions(the one who cant go back into the wild) was kept as some ones pet! : ( After the AMAZING drive we came back to the main place and waited for dinner. Before dinner there was entertainment. We didn’t know what it was going to be. We were hoping for a tribal dance, but no such luck. It ended up being a guy who brought in a huge snake and talked about how not dangerous they are and that the movies give them a bad reputation. It was very informative. At the end we got to hold the snake! I did it, but then again I am not that scared of snakes unlike some people. There was a lady who was terrified of snakes! In the beginning he brought out a bag and the lady freaked out because she assumed it was a snake(that was the point that we have a fear of what we don’t know and understand) Her husband was also scared, but at the end the husband came up and the lady touched it! It was so cool! After the show we had and had an amazing dinner! We sat down and had a full 3 course meal! It was so tasty : ) After dinner we headed back home.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The weekend of Feb 4th..

Well I had my blog all typed out and guess what? My computer died and it got deleted. I guess I need to update more frequently so if it happens again I don’t lose 2 week’s worth of good stuff!
                 So let’s see 2 weekends ago(Feb 4th) we rented a car to go to Port Alfred for the day. Our original plan was to rent the car and go to a game park, but when we called for a car they didn’t have any until later and it was rainy. We ended up getting the car around 5pm on Sat. During the day we walked around town. We went to CafĂ© Devine which lives up to its name! I got an omelet and it was fantastic. I also got a smoothie. It was made with all real fruit. It wasn’t my favorite(favourite) because it was really chunky, but it still tasted good! After we got the car we went out to eat at a restaurant called Spur. I got a quesadilla. I was craving one soo bad! I still have yet to try a traditional meal, but all the restaurants we have been to haven’t really had anything to exotic. Any who, so on Sunday we decided to go to Port Alfred. We heard it was beautiful which it was! Hopefully I can figure out how to post pictures on my blog to show you guys! So we got up early to go to the beach and guess what? We got a flat tire! We were driving a long and BOOM! (We think we hit a pothole). Man I have bad luck with cars. The best part was it happened right in front of the Welcome sign haha. So Holly kind of knew how to fix a flat and same with Summer so we pulled over a decided to fix it. There was a jack and a tire in the car. A few cars helped, but no one stopped UNTIll do do do dooooooo a red car that passed us turned around! It was a young guy in his twenties who was driving his mom and girlfriend to Port Alfred. His mom said that he asked if he could turn around and help the three girls back there. Luckily he did! It took him like 15 mins. We would have been there a lot longer haha. So after that was fixed we were on our way. Two side notes. Most of the cars here are stick and luckily Summer knows how to drive it so she was our driver and they drive on the other side of the road haha. Still hard to get use to. When I get in the car sometimes I go to the drives side by mistake. When we left for the beach it was a little rainy, but while we were eating lunch(I forget the name of the restaurant , but it was outside overlooking the water) the clouds moved out so by the time we went to the beach it was clear and sunny! The beach was sooo pretty! It’s the Indian Ocean! There were sand dunes everywhere. There were also a lot of jagged rocks and shells. We didn’t bring our swimsuits so we just got our toes wet, took pics, walked, collected shells, then just sat and listen to the ocean. It was very relaxing. After a few hours we headed home and had an un eventful trip. We passed some township homes. These homes are shacks. They look like ragged shacks that is barley standing that use to be used for storage. They are made out of tin.
Nothing to excited has been happening at school. I gave the kids a spelling test. This was the first time they had trouble understanding me haha. I had to repeat the words in context about 3 times and sometimes my teacher would have to repeat the word so they could understand. My stupid accent! The grade threes are practicing for the ball and they are coming a long great! I am taking over a lot more in the classroom. My mentor teacher and I are getting along great. That’s really about it. The kids still like me. I still like them. Although I am sooo exhausted!! Teaching all day is a lot of work!
Some random things. Horn=hooter, Eraser=rubber. They also say shame man and shame a lot.

Sorry if they are a lot of typos. I am trying to get these posted because I am so far behind. I have read through it a few times, but I am sure I missed somethings. I will go back and edit soon : )

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Week 2 already?

            So much has happened this week and it’s only halfway through! On Monday, my teacher had to spontaneously leave for two hours so I was left to teach the class ALL BY MYSELF!! I was super nervous, but I knew I could handle it(even if I didn’t think I could, I didn’t have much of a choice haha). The kids were pretty well-behaved. I think the students finally began to realize that I mean business and I am a teacher. They were rowdy, and I was told to take down names of students who didn’t listen. I wrote 2 names on the board and gave them a chance to be taken down, but the students failed to change their behavior so I had to tell my teacher. The students completed all the work I gave them on time. : ) As nervous as I was, I am so glad I got a chance to handle 35 students by myself. Even though I had to be a little strict, but the kids still love me : )
            Yesterday I took over reading groups. The children partnered up and got to pick a book. They are going to read this book for about 2 days, then report to the rest of the group and then switch books. The groups are based on ability and some groups were more challenging than others. It’s not the fact that some kids don’t get it, it’s just that some don’t want to listen to me AT ALL, which is so frustrating. Some groups work really well together and others don’t. This goes for maths as well.
            Today (Wednesday) I took over maths. We worked on place-value with the boards. The lowest group is really struggling. This is apparent when they work with me, and when they do work on their own. After school, I marked papers with my teacher and realized just how little some students understand. I’m glad I got to see who the struggling students are, but now the challenge is to somehow reach these children so they understand it.
            Today in the meeting with all the teachers I learned something interesting. After grade 3 at Oatlands the only option for public schooling in town is an all boys or all girls school. There is very limited space in both schools. About only 5 girl spots and 10 boy spots. This means that some children are going to have no place to go. Apparently, it was brought to a higher authority that Oatlands should add on and go up to grade 7. This is cause for a lot of argument. Many teachers don’t want it to go higher then Prep(which is grade 3), but others know that the kids have nowhere to go after this. Tricky tricky. This has been going on since 2010.
            Let’s see what else. I am pretty much doing reading groups and maths groups right now. My teacher is doing one or the other at the same time. I also help the kids with spelling and make sure they are on track. I am starting to write lesson plans and have the rest of my 6 weeks planned out! Everything is still going great! Week 2 is almost over which is crazy!
            Oh yea. So there is no air-conditioning here so the windows are constantly open. So on Monday when I got home from school, my whole bedroom was covered in flies! They were babies that just hatched. So I had to go on a killing spree. Then last night when I went to bed I saw 2 spiders crawling on the wall. I look up above the shower and there is about 70 little baby spiders that also just hatched! WHAT THE HECK?! I seriously screamed, cried, and got goose bumps! Bah. So I went to bed without doing anything, and when I got up in the morning there was only about 15 left. Not sure where they went. So I sprayed and now I think the problem is fixed haha