Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back On The Teaching Train

It has been a few days now, and I think I know my schedule well enough to comment on the new semester. I again have seven classes a week to teach which is by far a fairly tame schedule for teachers in Ghana. I know some who are teaching at the high school level who have close to thirty periods a week which boggles my mind. As it stands now, I don't have much in the way of classes, but I tend to spend my time in the lab for the bulk of my days and teaching students new things just flows throughout the day. Still, not much of my time is devoted to classes.

With that out of the way, our first class was held on Monday. That class was not present unfortunately. All the students had to go searching for their desks and chairs as all the furniture was moved out of their classrooms and into an empty laboratory due to the SHS students who lived on campus for their sports week. Classrooms were turned into boarding rooms, and to prevent widespread loss of school property, all of the students possessions were moved into that one giant room. At 8:00AM the students were permitted to retrieve said furniture, but that was also the time for my class. I had five students show up so it was not quite an official beginning.

Tuesday was not much better. I went to the administration building to check for my schedule which we did not have distributed on Monday morning. For my next class I learned that I would be having two classes at once. That is not quite possible to do. Two classes to meet at one time (2:15PM) won't work as there are 70 students and only 40 chairs in the lab. I spoke to the teacher who set up the schedule and he said that he would try to fix that problem, but I am aware that it might not be possible which would mean some further complications for teaching both classes. Maybe one time each week I would need to have one or the other class come to learn during their prep hours which run from 7 to 10 in the evening. Not the best option, but still, better than having 70 people in one room at a time.

Some more fun yesterday was the fact that the power was out from about 10 in the morning all through the rest of the day. Not only could I not teach both classes (due to the size just mentioned), I couldn't even teach one class without power flowing. The power did not return until early in the morning today, Wednesday. Small things of course, but nothing is completely straightforward here. Something can go wrong, and Murphy's Law will always apply here it seems.

My hope is that by next week we can have almost 90% of the machines running and useful for the students. Currently we still have a few machines that A) won't start at all, B) start but are not functioning well, and C) work but won't get online in their current state. So if I could get 9 out of 10 machines working and networked I would consider it a victory.

On to make-up classes and a brief introduction to the internet. This week the students must create an email account and send me a message to complete their assignment.

No comments: