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Thursday, February 14, 2013

First Few Weeks of School


                Sometimes, in the middle of class, as I’m writing formulas on the chalkboard, I have a spontaneous moment of reflection. I start to think, here I am in Mozambique teaching math in Portuguese to 60 some 9th graders. How crazy is that? At the end of the day, sometimes I have taught 5-6 hours back to back. I am amazed that in a few short months I have learned enough Portuguese words to be able to fill that much time, and sometimes without notes!

                How did I get here? Since I first turned in my application I knew that I really wanted to teach math in the Peace Corps. There are only a handful of countries that have Math Education programs so I was thrilled to be invited as a math teacher to Mozambique. Despite very frequent warnings that I would probably teach English instead, I hoped and requested and begged for math during all of training and after arriving to site. And I got it! But as I feel those 60 pairs of eyes on me and 60 pairs of ears listening to my American- accented Portuguese I sometimes start to think, am I crazy??

                My school is better equipped than many in Mozambique. There are almost enough desks for every student, there is a large blackboard in every classroom with plenty of chalk for all of the teachers. Every student comes with notebooks and pens for each class. And the classrooms I teach in are located on the 3rd floor, with a nice sea breeze and views of the ocean. Not bad…

                Students are organized into Turmas and stay in their one classroom for the whole day while teachers rotate in and out. All students wear uniforms, sing the Mozambican national anthem before school starts, and stand up to greet each teacher as they enter the room. The teachers all wear batas, these white lab coat-looking things, which are polyester and super hot (temperature wise, definitely not attractive wise). But the up-side is that they also help cover up the fact that it’s a million degrees and I’m sweating like I just ate thai chilis mixed with habaneros and wasabi. 11th and 12 graders meet in the morning for classes, from 7am to 12. Then in the afternoon the 8th, 9th, and 10th graders have class 12:30-5:30. So I usually spend the mornings planning and grading then I go to teach all afternoon.

                After not teaching the first week of school because the schedule wasn’t ready, classes started full force in week two. I had three turmas with 90 students in each class, but luckily the schedule was just changed to divide up the number of students. Hopefully I will have about 70 students in each class when that is finalized.

                I’ve been facing a lot of challenges I expected to face as a first year teacher, and some that I hadn’t even thought of. I’ve been spending a lot of time just trying to figure out how to organize lesson plans and grading. But it’s the small challenges that are also surfacing. For example, I had no idea how hard it is to write in a straight line on the chalkboard! (I have so much respect for all of my teachers who made this part look easy, not to mention everything else).  Plus, I am still trying to figure out how I am going to learn all 273 names of my students.

                But everyday it is getting better. After one particularly brutal day when a class was getting out of hand, I was walking away from the school feeling particularly exhausted. As I passed a group of 6 year old girls with my bata slung over my shoulder, one started yelling “Acunha, Acunha,” the word for foreigner in Koti. I’ve gotten used to being called out like that and I was prepared to just forget about it, as usual. But then another girl replied in Portuguese, “No, she’s not an Acunha, she’s a Professora.”

                I was smiling for the rest of the walk home.  

62 comments:

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  12. Definitely, Nepal is a dreamland for many adventure, highland trek and enormous legendry culture. Many hundred thousands of tourist are visiting in Nepal for Himalaya trekking, peak climbing,mountain expedition, sun rise/sunset views hiking trip, white water adventure, wild life safaris and many adventure sports. Although, we are A One Nepal Trek Company is local based pioneer trekking agency of Nepal. We have emotionally operating a best delightful mountain holiday in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan for our valued clients as per them willing with reasonable cost/price. All managed by well-known professional team, our Trekking Guides/Porters, /Tours Guides are fully trained, rich experience of service field and license holder. Surely, we well have be ever attention for your pleasure holiday in Nepal, and long term relationship as a friend. we are regulary promote this items ghorepani poon hill trek, annapurna base camp trek, upper mustang trek, Manaslu circuit trek, Manaslu tsum valley trek, langtang valley trek, langtang tamang heritage trail, langtang goshaikunda lake trek, Helambu circuit trek, everest base camp trek, gokya lake trek, everest chola pass trek, jiri to Everest base camp trek, And other Adventure Peak Climbing in Nepal as Island peak climbing, Mera Peak climbing, Lobuche Peak climbing & Other packages tours in Nepal.
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  13. Trekking in Nepal…Family Adventure style
    The towering Himalayas are, to many travellers’ minds, the chief reason for visiting Nepal. The country tumbles steeply down from the 800km stretch of the Himalayan battlements that forms its northern border, and can claim no fewer than eight of the world’s ten highest peaks – including, of course, Everest, the highest of them all. The mountains are more than just physically astonishing, however. The cultures of highland-dwelling Nepalese peoples are rich and fascinating, and the relaxed, companionable spirit of trekking life is an attraction in itself. The Himalayas have long exerted a powerful spiritual pull, too. In Hindu mythology, the mountains are where gods go to contemplate, while the Sherpas and other mountain peoples hold certain peaks to be the very embodiment of deities.
    Most visitors to mountain areas stick to a few well-established trekking routes. They have good reasons for doing so: the classic trails of the Everest region with its famous trails like Everest Base camp trek and the 3 high passes are both mind blowing ventures and highly popular in the world. And Annapurna regions are so popular because they offer close-up views of the very highest peaks; this includes Annapurna 1 & 2, fishtail peak and Ganesh Himal trek. Famous treks like the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Annapurna Base camp trek & the Annapurna Circuit trek are some of the most famous on earth. Dramatic scenery and fascinating local cultures are most known in this area. Lodges on the main trails – some as sophisticated as ski chalets, these days – make it possible to go without carrying a lot of gear or learning Nepali, and without spending too much money, either. While trekking, you’ll likely eat and sleep for $20–30 a day. For those who put a high priority on getting away from it all, there are plenty of less-developed routes, of course, and simply going out of season or taking a side-route off the main trail makes a huge difference.
    The Helambu and Langtang regions are less striking but conveniently close to Kathmandu, attracting a little fewer than ten percent of trekkers. The Langtang valley trek & the Ganja-La pass are known trails in this area. This leaves vast areas of eastern and far western Nepal relatively untrodden by visitors. To hike in these areas you’ll need either to get set for camping and carry your own supplies, and live like a local, or pay to join an organized trek with tents and accept the compromises that go along with that.
    With a good operator, you can anywhere in the wild. A Great Himalayan Trail now runs the length of highland Nepal – though it will be for some time, if ever, before such a route will be serviced by lodges.
    Treks in remote far eastern and far western Nepal are mostly restricted to two kinds of globe trotters, both adventurous in their own way. The majority come on organized camping treks with agencies – in fact, this is obligatory for those areas that require a permit. The minority are independent trekkers prepared either to carry tents and food or negotiate with porters, or to seek food and lodging in local homes and basic lodges. Some great camping outdoors include the Manaslu circuit Trek, Upper Mustang trek the Dhaulagiri circuit, Rara lake trek and the great Kangchenjunga trek, both north and south.

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