Thursday, June 2, 2011

Classes Begin!

Well it has been a little while since we posted because we finally have started the school term. The students arrived back last week. Most of the students arrived last Monday and Tuesday, and others have trickled in since then. It felt crazy to have all the students back again, after having the college campus be so quiet for a month. I (Ryan) started to teach last week because it was pretty obvious where I would be in the timetable, being as there is only one other computer teacher. The first week of lessons went pretty well. I tried to get an idea of how much they already knew about computers, which was much less then I had expected. So after that I decided that I would work on keyboarding skills with them. I have never taught keyboarding before so we will see how that goes, but I think it is such a great skill to have. So wafts of “find your home keys” can be heard emanating from the computer lab.

Emily worked on trying to figure out exactly what she would be teaching this week, which turned out to be much more work then we thought it would be. Two people that she needed to talk to from the math department only are in on Thursday and Friday, and the department chair over Special Needs Education was out of the country in Kenya. But she tried to do what she could; she was able to have a low-key week, which turned out to be good because she was a bit under the weather.

We had a very eventful weekend of getting stuff done. We planted sweet corn in our garden. Started painting our kitchen. Got lots of shopping done. Did a weeks worth of laundry which we have tried hard to avoid since getting to site. Our fingers still get the handwash virgin rawness from doing that much laundry. And most importantly of all our weekend accomplishments was finishing the 6th Harry Potter together! Which if you are familiar with the series you will know that I had one sad wife on my hands who did not want to believe the ending.

This week Emily has gotten to start teaching her Special Needs classes, which she loved. She volunteered to take on the job of teaching the Special Needs curriculum and acting as a support person for the special needs students on campus when we found out that the college had neither a teacher or the money to hire someone to teach the subject. Her first week in, she is loving it. She hits her stride when she is in front of students and the change in country did not change that. She just went over what it means to have Special Needs, and did some getting to know you activities. All of Emily’s Special Needs classes are with 1st Then all her math classes are with 2nd years and are on Friday. So she is looking forward to getting to fill her time with other stuff during the other weekdays. She is hoping to go to some primary schools and help out with projects there, and possibly participate in a girl’s empowerment group that we think is already operating on the campus. years and are on Monday.

My second week teaching went well but remained bogged down a bit by a power outage and the fact that we have a holiday on Friday. So we are off for a three day weekend starting after we close up the lab tonight. Each Tuesday and Thursday nights the plan is to have open lab hours. I have looked over more computer labs then most people after my experience in Americorps but the computer lab here is a totally different beast. Let me leave you with some of the fun differences I have noticed:

USA: You open a lab and it is full an hour later.

Uganda: You open a lab and it is full an instant later.

USA: If someone is looking at me they are doing something they are not supposed to.

Uganda: If someone is looking at me it is because I am white.

USA: When someone has nothing left to do they leave the lab.

Uganda: When someone has nothing left to do they write inspirational words to their class stream about how they should work and how God Blesses Them.

USA: If the computers are full people wait.

Uganda: If the computers are full they merely push on to a chair with someone.

USA: When someone looks busy they are busy.

Uganda: When someone looks busy they are writing their name in bold colorful letters.

USA: Settings are locked and firewalls exist.

Uganda: Every setting is changed within five minutes by someone who can’t figure out how to double click on an icon as soon as they sit down.

USA: You announce closing a lab and it closes half an hour later.

Uganda: You announce closing a lab and it closes thirty seconds later.

Hoping everyone at home is well,

Ryan KJ (or Mr. Johnson as I am known here, Ugandans don’t do the hyphen)

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