I got the opportunity to take over one of the teacher’s classes for the entire past week, as he was away attending a workshop. I think it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life –those were five long days. Remember when I said the kids didn’t quite respond to me as they did their other teachers? Well the same was still true, only I wasn’t done after just one day or one class session…I had to make it through the entire week.
I was teaching them two-letter words, like it, as, if, so, go, to, no…etc. To make matters more difficult, I had to do it entirely in English, whereas the other teachers always infused Dagbani, so the young students would understand better.
It was never so bad during the first class session, but by the time 10 am rolled around, most of the kids just didn’t want to pay attention anymore. It was a huge struggle trying to keep their attention on the blackboard, trying to get everyone to respond and repeat the words after me or the student leading the class. It was even harder to try and discipline the students in English, for they couldn’t understand what I was saying, and would just giggle. I thought I’d explode of frustration more than once, but every single time I managed to draw on some last nerve of patience I never knew I had.
At the end of the week, the other teachers commented that it seemed as though the students had finally gotten used to my teaching style, especially teaching in English. I was too busy trying to keep myself sane in controlling the class that I guess I never noticed it, but I realized they were right. In the end, the students actually learned, and they learned a lot. I taught them almost 20 new two-letter words that the students could identify, spell, and read. When on Friday the students read simple sentences like: “So he is to go” and “I am in it,” I couldn’t be prouder of them.
So yes, it was a long week…but it was one of the most rewarding weeks I’ve ever had, and it was a week that reminded me exactly why I’m here, and why I enjoy doing what I’m doing. It was just the week I needed!