At my school I am responsible for teaching 10th and 11th grade Physics as well as 10th grade Biology. My classes are not large – only 20 students in each. We meet in the afternoon as classroom space is limited and the elementary classes convene in the early hours. My students are excited to be taught by the “Peace Corps”, however unfamiliar my teaching style may be. The short 3 weeks of model school during training is proving valuable, and my class here has grown well-behaved (less a scallywag or two).
I've also taken on a weekly prep class for the 12th graders hopeful of passing a subject on the West African Secondary School Certificate Exam (WASSCE). Our grand total of students from 1st to 12th grade is 501.
The first week of school was, how should I put it... understaffed. Most teachers were at a last minute workshop 7 hours away. My principal wanted to show concern and open school on time. I helped teach almost every grade that week. One drizzly day I arrived to school to see 150 students from the 1st to 6th grades and not a teacher in sight. According to the daily schedule classes had begun. Students crowded into their respective classrooms and perked up as I walked on by.
Their anticipation was too grand – I had to give them something. I walked into the 2nd grade class and students sprung to attention, uniformly reciting “Good morning teacher, welcome to our class.” I introduced myself as Mr. H and said “What do you want to learn about today?” Not even a cricket. I echoed “Any questions – ask!”. Nope, time for a new prompt. I gave them an ultimatum “Math or Science?” That got them talking. Nothing like striking the fear of math in to the heart of a second grader. They opted for science, so I drew them a watered-down water cycle. Minutes after entering I hopped away to brief with the rest of the grades. Teachers trickled in and the load was lightened – but at least 5 grades have seen the water cycle now.