Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 3...already??

Wow... time has FLOWN by!! I cannot believe I have been in Grahamstown for 3 weeks already! I am still soaking soooo much in! I have taught for 3 out of the 4 days this week so that makes the day pass by very quickly. Tomorrow after school, I am helping with the swim meet. The local private schools in Grahamstown are all competing so it should be a lot of fun. The girl I live, Diana, is student teaching at the Diosean School for Girls, which will also be at the meet so we will cheering for opposing teams :) Next week, grade 5 is going on an overnight outing to Boknes, which I am not sure what exactly that place is... but hopefully I get to go. Sometimes I feel like I am cheating with my student teaching by going on all the awesome field trips, but I actually work with the students so much that I am gaining more experiences on these trips. I wish schools back at home went on more trips. The philosophy at Kingswood is that these overnight trips are meant to unite the grade and build relationships to promote teamwork and leadership.

The local university starts next week so Grahamstown is getting busy. On my walk today I saw many students moving into houses. The weekend is called "The Big O" meaning orientation. As the South Africans would say, "This weekend is going to be hectic" meaning this weekend is going to be awesome!

Things I learned this week:
1) The southern accent does not pronounce their vowels well... I have the hardest time saying African names!
2) In the US, we have a phrase called PEMDAS to remember the order of operation. Here it is BODMAS meaning Brackets, Of, Divide, Multiply, Add and Subtract. Needless to say, my grade 6 class taught my what "of" meant
3) Instead of saying zero in math, students say "nought"... I am finding this difficult to remember when I am teaching
4) People here write decimals as commas... so for example 10,000 is not ten thousand but 10.000

I wish I wrote down all the new things I learn everyday... I just have to laugh it off and remember when I am back at home that foreigners are not always going to understand me

Monday, January 25, 2010

Indian Ocean

This past Sunday, Auburn, Diani and I went to Port Alfred with the family Auburn lives with, Jill and Earnest Rotham. They have a house in Port Alfred. On our way to Port Alfred, we stopped in this little town named Bathhurst. It had really neat and historic shops. When we arrived in Port Alfred, we put on our swim suits (or costumes as they call them here) and went to the beach. It was so exciting to touch the Indian Ocean! Unfortunately it was overcast, so we didn't swim much because it was cold. Something interesting about the Indian Ocean is that the algae is red. When I first saw it I thought a bunch of fish had been massacred haha Oh the many things I learn everyday here!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I am amazed at how respected teachers are at Kingswood. Whenever a teacher walks into the classroom, all students must stand and greet the teacher. When I am walking to and from school, all the students greet me with a "Hello Mam." If the boys are wearing hats, they take them off to say hello in my presence. It is amazing at how mannered these children are. Teachers are often not respected the way they ought to be so it feels good to be greeted and treated with great respect.

The students are so polished at the school too. All students wear uniforms. Girls must have their hair pulled up and can wear only black, white or red headbands. Boys were socks up their calves and collared shirts. It is so British!

My next goal is to get a picture with the class so you can see how cute they look in their uniforms!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ooops here is the link....

Getting Acquainted

There are so many new terms to learn in a foreign country
For example:
now now means later
just now means much later
keen means okay
hectic means cool
college means elementary, middle and high school
varisty means university

Today started week two at Kingswood College
The staff and stooges had a relay race. I got signed up while away at camp with grade 7 so luckily I went to church and saw some of the teachers who told me to bring a swim suit (which they call costume). But I did pretty well so it's all good. This week I mainly observe the classes and get my schedule of teaching figured out!
I posted picutes on facebook so here is the link

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My first week!

Molweni! (That is how they say hello all in the Xhosa language which is the "clicking language")

I cannot believe that today is one week that I have been in Grahamstown! Monday, I went to the school to meet the teachers and staff. School started Tuesday. Since the seasons are opposite here, Tuesday was the start of the new school year. All the students wear uniforms. It is so surreal! The school has English style architecture. There is no air conditioning so all windows and doors are left open during the day. It is absolutely beautiful. My next goal is to take pictures of the school.

On Wednesday, I went on the 3-day camp with the 7 grade. Usually stooges (university students who live at the school for free by doing duties) go on field trips, but I get to go on all of them as well with any grade! On the first day I led a group of students on a 14K hike through some rough terrain. I was amazed that every student finished. And it was soooo hot! When the hike started it was chilly so I wore shorts and jacket....and no sunscreen. However, halfway through the hike the sun came out and so I burnt. So now I have a lovely farmers tan :) Thursday was group tasks. I led a task called spiders web where the group has to get all team members through various sized and height holes without touching the ropes. It was very entertaining. Friday the students went on a treasure hunt. It was so much fun.

The other best part of the camp was that I got to meet people my age...the stooges. We played lots of cards and I answered many questions. Apparently, there is a movie in South Africa about how 9/11 was a conspiracy so it was interesting to hear about that. Sadly, the USA does not have the best reputation. One of my students asked me if most Americans were fat... I laughed and said we have fast food that is bad for you. The people here eat very fresh and light. There is only one big meal a day and the other two are small meals. The typical small meal is a sandwich with cheese and tomato.

Friday night I went out for the first time in Grahamstown. Grahamstown is a college town much like Athens. At one of the pubs, every song they played was an American song. It was funny!

Next week is my first official week in the classroom since I was on a field trip most of last week. The atmosphere is very relaxed. In Athens, I had to were nice dress clothes to the schools. But here I am very over dressed. Due to the hot weather, tank tops are allowed and shorts! And there is a pub at the school!! That was a shocker. Wednesday there was a staff cocktail party but I missed it due to the field trip. Oh and apparently I got signed up to participate in the staff pool relay race... someone signed me up while I was gone haha I am actually looking forward to because swimming is one of the few sports I know here. Crickett, Rugby, Sqaush and Net Ball are all sports that I will be learning these next few weeks!

My goal tomorrow is to post pictures from the field trip.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Arrived in Johannesburg

Well, after an 18 hour flight I finally made it to Africa. I couldn't sleep on the plane at all and the food was not so good. It is nice to be in a hotel with a shower and bathroom! I leave in the morning for Port Elizabeth. I have to pay for internet which is about to run out so tomorrow I will post the funny story about thinking someone was trying to kidnap me and blowing up my hair dryer. Luckily no one got hurt haha

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

24 hours till departure

I cannot believe the time is already here for me to leave! I have spent the past two days packing and weighing my luggage religiously :) How does a girl back for 4 months? My plane departs at 1 pm tomorrow but I have to be at the airport no later than 9:30 to get through customs, security and exhange some money. I fly from Atlanta to D.C. Next I have a 19 hour flight from D.C. to Johannesburg. Finally I fly a short flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizbeth. That's a whopping 23 hours in a plane! Wish me luck!