School and my actual work take up an extremely small fraction of this blog. Perhaps it’s what continues to make people wonder things like what is the purpose of the Peace Corps these days and what are volunteers doing other than having some kind of exotic and nutty two year trip. Well believe it or not, we do do work. I just find it hard to bring up here because it’s a massive challenge and difficult to summarize. I kid you not, I’ve got a 16 page blog draft dedicated to school challenges that I shall someday unleash if I can get that mess of info into some sort of concise and coherent piece. Regardless, I’ve got to say this year things have gone surprisingly well. I still can’t figure out what’s happened. Is it me? Is it my counterparts? Even our class cancellation rate has gone done from last year! What’s suddenly caused that lurking beast Progress to begin poking his nose out from wherever he’s been hiding?
Running on a high off of summer vacation, our mid-service training and a much smoother start to year two than the chaotic point I was at last year, I’ve felt incredibly more positive about my time here and my choice to do this. (Not only in my work but in how I’ve grown from this experience.) Last year, at times, I’d find myself conceding ”well, at least I entertain them,” as being my accomplishment at the end of a day. Now small changes are happening in class as teachers and students begin forming new habits that I hope will benefit them and be sustainable once I’m gone. And the best part is we’ve developed them together! (Ok and with some pushing from me.)
Sometimes I get too ahead of myself though. There’s still plenty that gets me frustrated, but not nearly to the extent as last year. Which means when something does frustrate me, I get really frustrated. Frustration. How many times can we throw that word in here?
Today was one of those days after increasing issues of students being noisy, not paying attention, and not doing their work over the past few weeks which wastes class time and leaves my counterpart and I exhausted after these two particular classes.
Again these are issues we had last year. Students start to get more comfortable and push their boundaries. That and things are heating up with the muggy rainy season now upon us which just makes everyone more restless and less focused.
So today we laid down a bit of a smack down. One class we created a seating chart. BAM! Your privilege to sit by your friends, gone. In the other class, I was flying solo without my counterpart. So two students got warnings and another three got kicked out of class and a stern talking to afterward. They aren’t permitted to return until they can commit to behaving in class. We’ll see how all this works out as it really is the strongest test thus far of my counterpart and I’s commitment to more sternly and consistently enforce rules around here. Which isn’t done all that often.
The school bell rang, signaling the end of the break. I gathered my things, my counterpart in tow, adrenaline pumping. A teacher who had overheard our conversation with the students just prior leaned over and whispered behind me “patience”… and walking out of the teacher’s room and into the sunlight headed towards my next class, all I could think about was that scene from Cool Runnings.
And in the name good fun and for the sake of memeing I’ll leave you with this gem. Maybe I’m just out of it after a long day but it had me in tears laughing. Maybe you’ll get it, maybe you won’t but some of these just ring so gosh darn true.