Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nothing is more boring than reading about altruism.


Bear with me on this.

At my placement in Ghana, I am teaching five classes a day. From Primary 3-6 and Junior High School 1-3. The age groups are generally mixed, from 6 at the lowest to 19. Even though the JHS 3 kids should be 14.

I teach P5 on Mondays and Wednesdays. I have been doing my best to drill grammar and composition into their heads. For the first month, I was making the children repeat the same lesson because every time they handed in an exercise they bombed. Proving to me they didn't process a thing. So week after week, I kept trying a different way to tell them that "Teacher" is not an adjective.

After a while they started picking it up, marks improved and we were able to move on.

Though there was this one girl who consistently had failing marks. I always gave her a little slack, hoping her marks would get better like the rest, that sadly did not happen.

What was weird was that she was always attentive in class, saying she understood and writing her notes. Eventually(last Wednesday) I came up to her and had a little talk, just asking her if she needed a hand with anything because her marks were very poor. She shook her head and said "Mistah Ai undastahn".
I then tried a little test, I asked her to take out her notes. Which took three attempts, each time I had to simplify until I was just saying "Notes. Out. Please. Notes.".

Given the difficulty I had getting her notes out I was fairly ready for what came next.
I looked at her note book and everything was written out fine, the writing was childish looking( So is mine).

Then I asked her to read, she stared at me blankly, so I pointed at the topic of her notes which was "Nouns and Pronouns". She looked at her book then at me and started crying.
So I do my best to make her stop crying. I'm pretty good with children but not worth shit with ones who are crying. By the time she had finished crying our lunch was over and she went to her other class.

So I walk up to the proprietor, Sir Joseph Acquah Heyford( He likes to call himself Sir, or have the children call him Master). This man is no fun to talk to or be around, in fact he reminds me of Richard III, the cripple king who manipulated and killed his family. Believe it or not this man is also crippled.

I mention to him that I have a girl in my class who cannot read and I would like to tutor her after school, and if possible we could move her to a class where she can be at the same level as the students. Instead of being a parrot who writes.

He stops me and says don't bother, that girl is no good, she is stupid. I told him the difference from not being able to read because you never went to school before this year and being stupid. He wouldn't listen. He told me I could waste my time on her, but he will not change her class, that eventually she will smarten up.

So here I am a week later doing my best to teach a girl to read, when most of the time she is crying because she can't.

All in all, it's pretty dull reading.

But to save my image..

Brother Paul

-Altruism is boring.


    find something that arouses her interests and relate it to reading. Investigate into a game or something that she is able to learn well. Maybe shes not a visual learner, or even auditory it'll be hard but you got months.
    When you do get somewhere with her, man that feeling will never be replicated.

  2. oh man keep teaching her. this story will make hearts melt if you know what I mean.

  3. Wet vaginas back at home. I guess it isn't altruism after all.

  4. Paul, you are making good life choices.

  5. This read was very heart warming Paul. The two of you should play pranks on the proprietor.