Saturday, October 14, 2006

Don’t stop.

Do it ‘til ya drop.

I finally officially reported to work on 23rd August. (Ages ago now.) Busy, busy, busy. The kids reported to school on the 30th. (Also ages ago) We’ve had an amazing first six weeks; it’s been a journey, but I’m glad I’m here.

I’ve had to reinvent myself in many areas over the past few months. First, I had to begin writing in cursive again. I’ve not done that since sixth grade. So much emphasis was put on it in elementary school, but then in high school, the teachers did not care, and word processing became the norm for writing papers. Once I got the hang of connecting my letters again, I was informed that I was using the incorrect style of handwriting. The school adopted Cripps Handwriting. (No blue bandanas and nightly drive-bys.) It is almost like a combination of print letters and cursive writing. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I guess I can add this skill to my resume.

I’m also having to relearn how to do math. We follow a British scheme called Collins Math. There is a huge emphasis on mental math, so the children are taught to think through problems in a very different way than I’ve ever known. I’ve been confused and frustrated with having to teach math this way because it is so against what I’d normally do; however the results are pretty impressive. The kids can figure out math problems in their heads faster than I can do it on paper. I admit that I’ve learned a few tricks myself, and they come in handy when totalling up restaurant bills.

Other changes include spelling color colour, mold mould and tire tyre. People are also very funny with commas. Placement of commas is often an issue of style. They are used to politely clarify the meaning of what you are writing. However, the Oxford (also known as serial or Harvard) comma is never used and viewed as a sign of ignorance. I’ve cut back on using it over the years, but now I’m a bit paranoid when I write.

I finally began French lessons at Alliance Française. I go every night of the week from 7 until 8. Traffic is horrendous. It was taking an hour and a half to two hours to get there by vehicle, so I’ve resorted to walking most of the way. I take a taxi from Bugolobi to a roundabout just before town, and I walk a little over two miles to the language school. This saves me at least a half and hour, and it kind of makes up for not running in the afternoons. Traffic has cleared up a bit by the time class is out, so I just take public transportation home in the evenings.

Today is Ugandan Independence Day (9th October) so I have the day off from school. It is nice to have an extra day to relax and try to prepare myself for the coming week. I just finished reading a book this morning about a young girl’s experience on the Amazon River, Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. I loved it and I’m mentally planning my next trip to Brazil. It’s been nine year since I left and time to return…MONEY!!!

Ramadan Prayer.jpg



Cristy said...


So great to hear from you again and even better to hear that you are enjoying teaching over there! It looks like you have a pretty nice classroom - quite a change from the Peace Corps village schools, eh?

Anyway, we miss you over here. Keep in touch!

Nicole Ashley said...

Yay, a post!

You would not believe how often I think "I wish I could tell Timothy that." I'm glad that school is going well for you. It’s funny to think that this time last year we spent our free time sitting outside three porches over stealing internet. I've definitely come up in the world because now I don't even have to leave my apartment to steal internet.

Keep the posts coming!