We have finally begun the teaching practicum of our PC training. I’m partnered with Zach and Madi which I’m really happy about. I mesh really well with Madi and Zach has great training in literacy training. We’ve been going to the school nearby to teach in those classes. I’ve been assigned years 7/8 and years 3/4. The school is so small that there are only 3 teachers plus a principle there for grades 1-8 so the years combine and the principle teaches year 7/8. Even though the classes are combined, the class sizes are still really small with less than 20 students in my year 7/8 class. It makes it a great size to practice teaching in. I’m really enjoying the teaching part. Today when we went in, we were given teacher developed assessments of the students that put them either in the at-risk or advanced category and then he talked to us about what he’s been teaching. He was extremely vague about his phonics lessons which makes me unsure if that’s what he’s been focusing on. We were just sitting around so I popped up and split the class into the two groups, grabbed some books from the library and started testing the at-risk group myself. Their reading pronunciation was fairly good, but it really broke down on comprehension of reading that they were doing. So we decided to jump in there next week when we start our mini lessons. I have to say, the thing that I am most nervous about is classroom management. I’m a fairly quiet person so I don’t have that assertive personality sometimes needed to assert control but the PC has been teaching us some tricks. In Samoa, usually the methods used are slapping on the back of the head, weeding outside, or sending outside of the classroom for the rest of the period. I was really taken by a suggested method of reward where students earn points throughout the semester and then can cash in for different rewards such as dinner with me at my house, free homework pass, a book, or for top notch students a trip to Apia to see a movie and go to McDonalds. None of those really cost much money and would motivate the kids. We’ll see how it goes though, it’s all just in my head as of right now.
I absolutely adore the kids of Samoa. There are a few that I’d like to highlight though and talk a little more about.
Amataga is my little brother and he’s 4 years old. He’s an extremely shy boy and wouldn’t come within 15 feet of me for the first few weeks. It turns out though that he adores laughing and loves to play certain games. For instance, he loves to give high fives. He’ll run up to me throughout the day with his hands raised, waiting for me to put mine out so he can slap them at full force and then dissolve into a fit of giggles. He also likes this game where I fill my cheeks up with air and he pokes them and I make a funny noise. Usually he’ll run around in the same shorts that are about to fall off and no shirt and then on Sunday he puts his fancy sneakers on and keeps pointing them out to me throughout church every few minutes. He’s really creative with his toys and usually uses old bicycle wheels to roll around the fale. My favorite so far I saw when I was visiting at Lina’s fale. He walked past, dragging on a rope that was between his legs and about 3 feet long, a large branch that was almost 6 feet long. It looked absolutely ridiculous and my family was laughing right along with me. I asked afterward what it was and they said that he was playing horse.
Mareko is Madi’s little brother and is in my year 3/4 class. He always has a goofy smile on his face. He adores Madi and follows her everywhere. One week when he didn’t have class he came to class with Madi and sat quietly next to her for the full 9-5 day (until he discovered our pens then kept taking them and hoarding them haha! If you asked though he knew exactly whose was whose and gave them back). He still comes to our school every day after his finishes around 1 and just sits next to Madi. I’ve also seen days where Madi goes running in the afternoon and usually she’ll run past and about 10 sec past her, Mareko runs past after her in his favorite knee high socks.
Pepetua is somehow related to Alisa’s host mom. Not quite sure the relation since she’s generally running all over the village but it’s there. She is somewhere around age 4 or 5 and is by far the cutest kid in the entire village (which is hard to say since they’re all adorable). She has super curly hair that’s short. Pepetua’s favorite thing to do is to run at you full force across the village and body slam you into a hug around your knees. She’ll then latch on and hug you across the village. Love her!
Junior (an extremely popular name in Samoa, also shortened usually to J) is Peta’s host brother. He’s also year 3/4, same as Mareko. He’s taken a particular liking to me and likes to put my hand around his shoulder. He’s also trying to look out for me and reprimands other kids if they hit my butt (a common greeting for some reason from the kids) or if they do something inappropriate. He’s quiet most of the time but one time he found this orange wig in the ocean, put it on, and became so active it was hysterical.
There’s the boy (~age 4) whose butt crack is always showing. The girl (~10) who wants my arm around her at all times. The family of kids on the corner of the street who yell out MALO MASELA (hello Michelle) close to 10 times whenever I walk past. There’s the boy (~3) who I though was a girl for the first 4 weeks until I saw him pull his pants down and pee on the door to our school. There’s Buddha (PC nickname), the baby who has the most awesome head of hair ever. The entire village has so many amazing children and they’re always running around. I’m going to miss that sorely when I go back to America. Kids always hide in their houses and if you’re a stranger and go up to them, they get freaked out. Here, kids embrace people and you can hug kids and pick them up. I love it!
Running Tally of Things Ants Have Swarmed:
Mini bag of candy corn
Inside my computer