We received a stern warning from the principal at the school to be tough, take charge, or they will take over you. We didn’t really heed his warning very seriously. How difficult could it be to manage a classroom full of cute little kids? I was supposed to teach the students basic computer skills, but one of the teachers for a first grade class didn’t show up. I guess it happens often. Teachers just don’t show up. Like it’s no big deal. So I was yanked from the “computer lab” ( I’ll explain the quotations on a later post) with four other new volunteers to handle a classroom of 40 kids ranging from four to six years oId. I wasn’t prepared for this.
It was more like running a daycare than an actual classroom. The kids were all over the place! We were told to attempt to teach them whatever we wanted but unfortunately these kids were way too young for me to teach them anything they would be interested in. So I thought the best thing would be to have them follow me in step-by-step drawing. There are a few things I know how to draw from memory. Mickey Mouse is one of them.
It managed to hold their attention for maybe five minutes before kids started climbing all over me for the remainder of the class. At almost every point there was a kid either on my shoulders, my back, dangling from my neck, or hanging onto my legs. If they weren’t using me as their own personal jungle gym then they were beating the crap out of each other. I had to break up maybe 15 different fights. No exaggeration there. These kids are savages! Before I came to SA, I heard from a friend that kids in this country love Dragonball Z. Thankfully I was able to calm the kids down a bit when I revealed I knew how to draw Goku. I think I drew him with the students about ten times. It was definitely a big help.
There were times when I hid from the chaos and visited other volunteers who were doing the sports development program. Boy did they have it easy. By the end of the school day, the lot of us teachers locked ourselves inside a shipping container that was in the schoolyard, protected from the wild animals. Personally the kids were too young for me. I can handle a few, but not 40 at once! Before we left school for the day, some of us newbies were introduced to the older, more well behaved classes that we would eventually work with. It was great because they asked if I could help them write raps in English when I get the chance. I told them yes and we would get some rap battles going on soon! English is not their first language, but they understand it pretty well. Most of the students speak Afrikaans or Xhosa. I don’t know a lick of either.
At this point in my time here, the other volunteers started to grow on me. In addition to the 20 volunteers I live with, there is roughly another 20 volunteers in a separate house, roughly five minutes down the road that I see on a daily basis. I’m still trying to get names down. There are times where I would introduce myself to people that I’ve already met the day before. There’s just so many! There’s one girl, Lindsay, who I’ve literally met four times. Africa has a negative effect on my memory it seems. We joke about it now, but I won’t forget her anymore haha! Lindsay. After a night at a karaoke bar with everyone, we all finally started to make connections with each other which was great. Some connections were on a whole other level ( if you catch my drift) but that’s a separate story. 🙂