After a night of torrential rain we arrived at J.T Reffel school for our first day of teaching today. The second we left the bus we were treated like celebrities, being mobbed by the younger children who fought over who could walk the closest to us! They all love to shake and hold our hands, frequently introducing themselves and asking our names. As well as their teachers, we are referred to as 'Aunty' and 'Uncle' by the students, which takes a while to get used to. The older students and pre-prep are less enthusiastic to see us, but I don't exactly blame them, having unqualified teenagers from half way around the world teaching in their school! We split into 3 teaching groups - Leila, Pip & Hannah took on Arts and Crafts, Dulcie, Eli and Alex did French lessons and Patch, Georgia and I did some English. The books and pens we took from home came in handy, the children were enlightened by literary classics such as The Tiger who came to Tea, Elmer the Elephant and The Hungry Caterpillar. They loved the crayons and coloured pens, using them in their books and drawing pictures. The students are unused to answering questions individually in such large classes, so engagement in class started off quite slowly but the lessons became easier throughout the day as we all got used to each other and became more confident in our teaching. However they are super obedient, we never needed to tell anyone to listen or be quiet. During break we all played games in the courtyard, with literally hundreds of kids wanted to join in and play. We split into groups and played Hokey pokey, duck duck goose and catching the ball which was rather daunting but fun. At the end of the school day, as we were leaving lots of the kids ripped out pieces of paper and asked for our names, perhaps not thinking they would see us again. Some also wrote on their drawing paper and work things like 'I love you all' and 'God bless you'. They are all really sweet and wonderful children who seem genuinely excited to be in school and in class. Looking forward to lots more days with them!
After a rough night of waking up to the sound of torrential rain hitting our roofs, we enjoyed another hearty breakfast (this morning, featuring pancakes!). Afterwards, we set off to the Ballanta Academy of Mus to find a surprise. No students... The staff explained to us, that although we had expected to start our busy timetable of lessons today, the students were not quite ready for our appearance, therefore they would be arriving tomorrow (Wednesday).
Due to this unexpected turn of events, we spent the rest of the morning practising in our little (unbreathable) rooms, preparing for the upcoming concert at the British Council.
We were joined for lunch by a very tired looking and dripping JTR gang! We sat around, drenched in sweat, overwhelmed by the mixture of tastes from a dry wrap with chocolate spread mixed with the musk of sweaty teenagers, which carried itself throughout the room.
However, this was not enough to put us off, so we gathered in a small mini bus and trundled to our next destination - The Vine Memorial secondary school for girls, where we gave our very first Outreach concert.
After unpacking our instruments, we were welcomed by a short program of singing and dancing, performed by a few of the girls from the school. It surely was a sneak peak into the culture, and boosted us with some positive energy. After that we played our half of the program. The concert came out well in the end, however, dare I say, the style of music we played was somewhat different to what the students had expected!
We returned to the hotel to have the mandatory shower, a quick game of cards, followed by a delicious plate of spaghetti. Recharged, we headed off to the British Council for rehearsals. A busy, however successful day is now behind us.
Connie and Annie - BAM
Over and out for today- a very happy team leader, delighted to be surrounded by such talented and enthusiastic students. They are making you, our Wells community and the project proud... JDA