Friday, February 24, 2006
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Eli in the doorway to our bedroom: this place has 1.5 baths and 3 rooms that we don´t even use! Its a mansion, but we´re trying to get the school to move us to a cheaper place (that hopefully has a view of the water!)
This is from way back when at our host families house near Maputo. I was grinding up peanuts (or maybe corn) for dinner. Thats my host mother beside me, and our host father sitting down behind me. The room behind all of us was actually Eli and my bedroom (seperate from the main house). We don´t own one of these giant grinders yet- we have to borrow our neighbors- but you can make really good peanut sauces with them, so I want to get one. Eli´s been holding out because they´re expensive (about $4).
Eli and I at the top of Nacala
Here´s the inside of one of the classrooms- they´re all exactly identicle. There´s no glass in the windows here, and sometimes the students are sitting 3 to a desk (at least they are in my 11th grade class). But the rooms aren´t really bad, and the lack of glass gives a nice breeze.
Eli outside of the school- there are 3 rows of class rooms like this one, and one row of admin. buildings.
Well, those are the pictures! We´ve also been doing a lot of teaching, which has been good. I´ve had some rough classes (prepared for the wrong one!) and today I had some really good classes, so it was fun. Eli´s been doing really well, her classes are good and the other teachers are really impressed with her lesson plans.
We´ve also met our neighbors, who are really very nice, and interested in learning english. We´ve been giving english lessons to our neighbors kids in exchange for Indian food (WOW) and water.
The only bad news is that our cat got out (ok, we let him out) because he starts making horrible noises at night when other cats are near our house. The sound will drive you crazy and woke up our neighbors, so we figured we had to do something to shut him up. Once he got out he got into a cat fight, which he lost, so he spent the last few days licking his wounds in the house. He´s making a good recovery, and we´re now keeping him away from windows at night, although he still likes to attack the mirror.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Our real first day of class
I just want to leave a quick note about my first day of classes. Overrall it went really well, I was really happy with myself, because I wasnt nervous at all once i went in the classroom. My first class had about 30 students (about half the normal size i think -- i dont have a class list yet), and they were good students, aging between 12 and 21!! (nobody older than me, good thing). The next class was a little rowdy, but managed to control them (i think i may have problems with them later on), i had about 45 students in that one. The last two classes were actually the best tho. Something funny that happened - I actually taught the wrong class at one point!!!! haha, let me explain. I teach 9H and then 9G, but i taught 9G and then 9H, but by that point all the other teachers had left, so nobody came to claim the class!!!! Anyway, about 20 students waited for those last two classes, and i think that's why it went so well, only the good students waited, all the other went home. Haha, oh well, I had a really good time, and looking forward for tomorrow (i'll try to keep the classrooms straight this time).
Aight, here's Paul. I hope all of you are doing well,
Hi! I taught my first classes this morning- only two, as I teach 4 days a week so they´re spread out- and it went pretty well. I´m not sure that all of my students understood my Portuguese- I´m not actually sure that I could understand my Portuguese at some points, but they didn´t really say anything, so we´ll have to wait and see how much they got. I start teaching at 6:45am most days! so at least it´s still a little cool out, which is nice.
One of the wierd things about teaching is that the bell system isn´t really worked out yet. Class kind of starts when you walk into the room and ends when you leave. I remember looking at my watch and then asking the students when class ended. They said ´technically 5 minutes ago,´but I was looking at the classroom across from mine and they were still teaching, and no bell had rung, so I hadn´t been sure. But when I left my classroom, sure enough all the others were out of session (and were out of session every time I went out to look, so I guess you can´t tell anything by that).
My big shock for the day is that I´m the head of the biology department! I´m not really sure what extra work is expected of me, or why they picked me, but we´ll see what happens. Also, I´m the director of the 11th graders that are following the science path. Hopefully its not too complicated, I think I would do better my second year when I speak better portuguese!
We´ll talk more about teaching when we´ve gotten more into the meat and bones of it- these two days were just introductions. Hope everyone is well,
Thursday, February 02, 2006
School has Started!
There weren´t actually any classes in session, and Eli just got her chalk and paper and we were ready to leave. The other nice thing we got from that trip was a note from the school to take to the alfaiateria (tailor), so we went and got measured, and are going to have Batas (think lab coat) made for us. I kind of like the idea of having a bata to teach in, its really formal. We also go our pictures taken and we´ll get neat name tags- I think they´re actually pretty cool looking.
I also went to school today (Thurs) in case I had morning classes. But nobody was teaching, and everyone told me things wouldn´t start until Monday (actually a lot of students I´ve spoken too have said they thought school started next Monday period, so... most people never planned on starting this wed. or thurs!) Friday is a holiday so no school then. We´ll write again after Monday to tell you how our first classes go!
As for what we´re teaching- I have 3 turmas (classes) of 10th grade biology, which is Genetics, Evolution and Ecology, as well as 1 turma of 11th grade bio, which is all taxonomy. It means about 13hours in the classroom a week, but I´ll have about 80 kids a class for 10th and 50 for 11th. Eli has 4 turmas of 9th, and only works 2 days a week, with a total of 12 hours a week. Our nearest PCV neighbor said she was teaching 9 turmas! I think we´re lucky, but we haven´t started teaching yet, so we might get a surprise.
A few weeks ago on our trip to Pemba we met some American missionaries who live in Nacala. We´ve gotten together with them twice since, which has been a lot of fun. Once they had us to their place for pizza (the best I´ve had in the country) and some card games, and the other time we went to Bay Diving, a tourist place that we´d never been to before. They have good food though, I had some Mahi mahi fish (about $5 for the plate) and Eli had some South African sausages and a chocolate cake with ice cream. We eat a lot of rice and beans, so it was a good change of pace!
We have decided to name our cat Ptolemy. Eli really pushes for the ancient names, so my idea (Kermit or Dilbert) will have to wait for another pet. Not that it matters since he doesn´t respond to anything we say. Overall, he´s a great cat though, really fun to have in the house, and a good house cat in general. The only bad thing is that sometimes another cat comes onto our porch at night, and if our cat sees him he goes nuts! He starts making a horrible meow that sounds like a baby crying and he trys to attack our mirror. Its definetly weird, so now we take precautions against him seeing anything on the porch.
Hopefully we´ll get some more pictures posted up soon, maybe a better one of the apartment. Oh, we also officially recieved mail at our Nacala address, so if you want to send letters (large things will still probobly be safer going to the Maputo address) you can send them to us at:
Escola Secundaria de Nacala-Porto