Friday, November 05, 2010

Power Would Come In Handy

I managed to do it somehow. Teaching five classes without single kilowatt of electricity running through the wires. That was not something I had anticipated on Thursday morning when I got to the lab. Apparently yesterday the power company had to perform some maintenance and took our town and area off the grid for a spell. From 7:30 or so in the morning until 5 in the afternoon we did not have power and I had three classes to teach. Most teachers don't miss a beat when this happens, they have a lesson plan that covers a book and then has notes to be placed on the whiteboard.

For me I have to figure out how a practical session on the computer for 30 or 40 students should be handled when I don't have a single computer running for any of them. What has been quite handy are the UPSs (Uninterruptible Power Supply) which have driven my projector during each of these classes. I plug the monitor into a still-functioning UPS battery and start the show up for the students. The projector burns through a lot of electricity though, and one UPS will not last me the entire lesson. When it goes dark I then grab another UPS and make the switch. I sense that I am becoming quicker at replacing the units, like a race car making a pit stop and I am the one to change the front tires.

Sadly though, these lessons were meant to give the students a chance to explore on their and get a feel for word processing applications. I can tell that in the late afternoon in a very warm lab (a heat index here of about 95 degrees) makes the students drift a bit. In the future I will detail the day in the life of a student at the school here and I must say, it would make me slump over at my desk and sleep soundly if I had to endure what they do on a daily basis. For a taste of the schedule, it usually starts at 4AM.

The classes though went on and I feel like asking for volunteers and trying to elicit laughter every so often can break up the monotony of staring at a projector screen for an hour. I don't know why the power was out today but since about the same time this morning we have been without electricity. The good news for me is that I have plenty of UPSs left to plug into the satellite modem to continue using the web for a few hours.

Nothing like roughing it here in Ghana. Or at least, my version of roughing it.

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