Saturday, October 20, 2012

Return to Msufini Secondary

I have recently developed the habit of starting my posts with “yesterday…” I say that I am busy, but that is not a valid excuse for the habit – I was just as busy today as I was yesterday, however I am about to write a post about yesterday because my busy-ness was more noteworthy. I will make an effort to start posting about events the day of, though sometimes it is beneficial to allow the events to marinate overnight before blogging.
Yesterday I conducted another outreach training at Msufini Secondary School. I went with Princely as my translator (usually we co-teach lessons, however the Msufini students are not nearly as strong of English speakers as the New Life students so I taught the lesson and he translated). It went surprisingly well. If you remember, I was feeling a little lack-luster about my first training at Msufini a few weeks ago. The students were mildly engaged and the size of the class felt rather overwhelming. This past Friday however they were wonderful. We began with a recap and they were more confident immediately – I had a different volunteer to answer every question I asked. Their answers to my questions proved that the previous lesson yielded a far better retention rate than I had assumed. The new lesson was a continuation of the first lesson that focused on how to communicate assertively through an appropriate vocabulary, eye contact, an open stance, and active listening.  I incorporated some partner activities into the lessons and the kids were highly responsive. I was impressed by this, especially since they had another hour-long lecture in the same room right before us. (In fact, the Msufini headmistress did not pass along news of our visit, so we were surprise visitors. Not only that but we showed up almost an hour late because the bus refused to take us until it was filled with passengers.) I am proud of the kids and am starting to develop a really wonderful relationship with them. I am excited to return again this Friday. I have even adjusted to the size of the group. As I earn their respect through teaching relevant material in an interactive way, the size (200 students) becomes less of a struggle as they pay attention regardless.
Following the lesson, Princely and I walked a few miles before catching a bus because there are few buses that travel down the road to Machame, the road that Msufini is off of. The walk was beautiful – Machame is a village on the mountain so the area around it is so lush. I will have to bring my camera next time we go.

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