Monday, February 1, 2010

I have cats. Plural.

Check out my cats. The orange one is named Taika which means tiger in Tongan. I haven't named the grey one yet. Don't worry they aren't stray cats. I am new at this pet thing, and I might be getting a puppy very soon too. Please refrain from calling me animal women. If you have any advice about cats please send me an email. Thank you!

Tailulu College

The name of my High School is Tailulu College. There are approximately 150 students. I am teaching Form 1 and Form 2. I am hoping to do something with the gym class, because that barely exists, but that might have to hold off until I get more settled with my English classes. Form 1 ranges from 11-12 year olds with Form 2 ranging from 12-13 year olds. We are on a 6 day routation scheduale. I am teaching Form 1 and Form 2 in 2 sections, so I have 4 classes altogether. There are around 15ish students in each section. So I have around 60 students altogether. I have around 4 classes each day, some days its 3 and one day it's one. The Forms go up to Form 5. Then there is Form 6, in which the students at my school have to pass the Form 5 test, or else they have to repeat Form 5. If they pass this test, they can transfer to the few schools that have Form 6. Then, if they choose they can apply to go to college.

My school days consist of an 8:30 prayer assembly, but that is only on monday and wednesday's. The minister comes in and does a whole big thing and the students sing. It's quiet beautiful. On the other days, the students line up by Forms outside and someone says a short prayer for the beginning of the day. There is also a prayer at the end of school. In case you don't know Tonga is a religious country. There are prayers done before every meal, except snacks.

There is homeroom and somedays reading for 30 minutes before class. I'm still figuring things out. All classes start by 9am. The students appear to very attentative, and I hope that continues. The Tongan students are very respectful to the teachers, because teachers are high figures in society.

The problem I face here is that when I'm trying to teach english, they a just stare at me because they don't understand or they're just shy. If i ask a question sometimes they just sit there. It's hard. This teaching gig is a lot of work, especially with lesson planning. The other problem I encountered is that Tongan classes revolve around writing exercising on the board and having the students do them. Writing exercises on the board and having the students copy and answer the questions takes a very long time, especially when classes are only 50 minutes long. I am learning to realize that not much will be accomplished in a short period.

Lunch is half an hour long, running from 11:30-12. The teachers eat mango's for lunch. No one brings much for lunch, I imagine they just eat when they get home. All or a vast majority of the teachers aren't from Neiafu as well as the students. The students take buses in from outer villages to school. Yet, if they live on outer islands they stay with family monday through friday and then go back to their island on friday.

School officially gets out at 2:30, but there is an assembly afterwards for each form, well i guess its more like homeroom. Then all the buses come and everyone is gone by 3. It’s a short day but only because I am so busy. I've been doing my lesson planning at night because I don't have time during the school day, but i'm hoping that will change.