Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Ignorance is bliss vs Turpe Nescire

It is only day 3 in my 2-year teaching contract at the school and I'm exhausted. Little did I know how tiring it would be teaching primary school kids, especially Reception, Year 1 and Year 2! It has all been quite good fun though despite the persistent network problems and lack of Internet connection at school and intermittent connection at home.

Apparently Cable and Wireless are coming out tomorrow to check my modem at home. If you're one of my four loyal readers, you will know that there are no addresses on Praslin or indeed anywhere in Seychelles, so it makes directions/addresses quite amusing. "Do you know the bend in the road before MAS supermarket, before the papaya tree's? Yes, we live down there, fourth house on the right, opposite the breadfruit tree. It has ten pairs of boxer shorts hanging up outside." That is not too far from the truth. There's a national campaign at present to get postcodes by 2014, but that would of course rely on street names. Nobody wants to take responsibility for naming roads though, not the council, the land registry or department of housing. In the end, maybe RiRi needs to send a crack team over from Google and they can do their StreetView thing and name all the streets whilst they're at it. Make sure they don't download all our WIFI data though, as my blog posts might get leaked a day or two early.

Back to the lab (classroom). I did a quiz yesterday as a starter. I've been doing it for years:

To my surprise, over half the students could not identify the first logo (NIKE). I was flabbergasted but also very relieved that globalisation still hasn't quite reached our paradisaical island. Remember, there is no McDonalds or Starbucks here! At the same time, in an English lesson, "Boatswain M" my neighbour remarked how students did not know who Beyoncé was or Didier Drogba. That is despite many students wearing Chelsea shirts. It seems that a country with few national celebrities breeds a culture lacking of big ego's and the dreams of the Praslinois children are less celebrity-orientated. Thank God. On the flip side, local gossip is quite rife, everyone knows everything about everyone. So watch out!

To further emphasise how far along we are on the development curve out here, a Seychellois entrepreneur recently launched their own version of gumtree. It's called BazarSeychelles. On there you can buy and sell anything. I was looking for a mountain bike, but low and behold underneath the Bernina sewing machine...

Yes, that's right. Someone is selling a goat. Only £42.50! It sounds like a Soap opera, remember that storyline from Neighbours in 1999, where Lou had a pet goat? Maybe it's just me.

To wrap it all up, I'll close with this story from reception class today. I've been tasked with teaching ICT to reception kids. This is tricky considering some of the 3-4year olds do not yet speak English or indeed much Kreol and most of them have not yet developed fine motor skills to operate a mouse. I feel a great deal of responsibility in teaching a child how to use a computer and I guess there's never too early an age to start. It's massively rewarding as it is draining in terms of energy levels.  I'm convinced all kids are powered on Duracell 30000 maH batteries. Shout out to dizzle bhai.

Obviously the range of skills varies widely from child to child. As I played on a game on Poisson Rouge , which is used to develop reaction time and matching skills a UFO popped up. The 4 year old boy who I was with screamed, "Aliens! Aliens! My mum told me the aliens were coming but they never came!"-He sounded a little dissapointed.... Later on the same child was asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, he replied "I'm going to be a paleontologist" with perfect diction. We then had a relatively grown-up conversation about constellations. This kid will be a superstar within the next 15 years! HOLD TIGHT

In other news, all classes have come with pens and pencils. It's a little bizarre, everyone bringing all the equipment they need to class and everyone being very eager to learn. Students wonder around the class a bit, not being mischievious, but literally to help each other out. It's a nice little community.

We started off doing Mondrian drawings in MS Paint with Year 8 (due to lack of software/network) and then we looked at Frank Stella. All students were then asked to do their own variation. Here is one above.

Attentive readers may wonder how I got the Poisson Rouge website working in school without an Internet connection. Here is your answer: WinWSD's software allows you to download an entire website, including flash and content. I then just have to run around all 24 machines in the morning with a USB stick uploading the websites by hand. We're solutions-driven out here! I've been trained by the best-Mrs H, Ms P, Shaikh Dimension, Goh-E and Dizzle Bhai (Also known as my ex-colleagues!).

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