The wheels in my brain are cranking in overdrive this morning. I just finished translating a forty minute speech that I have to present this afternoon regarding the importance of using Drama as an educational tool for people in rural communities. This will be my longest Portuguese speech yet. I hope it goes over well. I hope I'm understood because my Portuguese accent, in terms of my pronunciation, always sounds French since that was the language I studied in school. Whenever I attempt to speak any of the romance languages they all have a French twang. My students were so cute last night. Finally, I feel a wall has come down. I'm used to joking around with my students and interacting with them. I ruled my classrooms with an iron fist, but I always found time to bop one or two students on the head with my New York Times or poke a few in the ears with pencils. Teaching should be fun! Here it is almost impossible because everyone and everything is so serious. Last night, however, I made my students laugh, I made them crack-up. I poked fun at a few and they understood that I was teasing them and they couldn't stop laughing. VICTORY for Senora Sojo! or Mamma Sojo as I am sometimes called.
Last Thursday, our English lesson was about temperature and weather. Last night we reviewed some of our key concepts and vocab words and I proceeded to teach two songs. One song was an old Broadway tune, a Gershwin standard I believe "Oh the rain, goes a pitter-patter, and I'd like to be safe in bed...", the other one was the good old Christmas favorite "Let it snow, let it snow , let it snow". So I taught these songs and we dissected the meaning, then I broke them into four groups and gave each group a weather phenomenon to write a song in English about. One group had cyclones, another wind, another floods and another the sun. They loved the assignment and had so much fun composing. Some of the songs were really good. My students are very musical. I will keep that in mind. Next Monday, each group will take a turn teaching their song to the class and they have to come up with a dance to go along with their song that conveys the meaning. It was so fun! I'm recording their performances.
My work here is really picking up. I'm happy. I've been busy doing actual things that are useful. My field observations with the student teachers are going well. I've seen some amazing progressive teaching. I've also seen some scary things. I have started to set up meetings with the teachers and I am able to provide feedback and give suggestions. I also get time to demonstrate some techniques to them. It's great. I'm mentoring.
I've also been given the task of creating a pre-school curriculum for children in the community. I'm working on that right now. I'm making sure to address all of the learning modalities to provide the teachers with a good firm example of diversified lesson planning. I'm going to observe some local pre-schools to get a better understanding of how they run and what types of curriculum's they use. There are several pre-schools in the city that cater to the children of ex-pats and they are excellent models of what every child here in Mozambique should have access to. They will actually establish a pre-school here at the EPF school in the coming months. I hope I'm here to help set up.
Long story short. I've been very enthusiastic about my work lately.