Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Birthday! January ESL

As soon as I returned from my vacation to Israel, I jumped into two ESL classes.  My beginning class was already started when I got to Lodwar.  The intermediate class was the next week.  Shadrack, my teaching helper, had started the beginning class and continued to do most of the teaching that week.  I  filled in with extra information to make the class more fun.

Fun!  "Fun?" you say.  Yes, fun.  This week of class my students were learning about birthday parties and some common feelings.  So, I got to make a birthday cake.  I forgot to take a picture, but it was lots of fun.  It was a vanilla cake with sprinkles added before baking.  I frosted it with chocolate icing and added some more colorful sprinkles.  I even found some birthday candles in Nairobi before heading to Turkana so I had five candles on the cake.  This was our fifth class since starting last July (August and December are off months for school here).  

Everyone in the class had been assigned a birthday during the first or second class.  Most Turkana people do not know exactly when they were born.  They guess at a year.  So, I took the year they guessed and assigned birth dates throughout the year for each student.  They know these birthdays are only for class, but it is still fun to have a date to call your own.  Anyway, the students learned the "Happy Birthday" song and learned about parties and blowing out candles.  They even learned the words for cut the cake.  I also got presents for each student and wrapped them in colorful paper.

The presents were helpful for their ongoing studies.  They included an exercise book, a pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, two pens and a fun party toy.  They each made invitations and gave them to classmates to come to the party.  They also made a Birthday card for one of their classmates.  So all the students were invited and got to celebrate their birthdays at the same time.  We sang and wished happy birthday to the English class and then enjoyed some cake and juice.  The Students were very happy with their presents and played with the toys for quite a while.  We had colorful plastic discs flying all over the classroom from those toys.  All in all, it was a good class.

The Intermediate class began well, but didn't last long.  The class started on Tuesday and our numbers were down.  We had half of the class gone.  January is a hard month in Turkana.  It is drought season and people are hungry and looking for good grazing for their animals.  So it isn't unusual to have smaller classes.  This was the case with the beginning class too.  On Tuesday I brought in some teaching items that I bought in Israel.  It was so much fun sharing them with my students.  I also showed them many pictures.  We talked about what Galilee might have looked like to Jesus and the Disciples and then I showed them a little of what it looks like now.  They really enjoyed the pictures.

Tuesday was also the day that I woke up with a sore throat.  All day long as I taught I was slowly loosing my voice.  I called Shadrack and asked him to come help me teach the next day as I wasn't sure I would be able to.  We played "Who am I?" Tuesday afternoon so I didn't have to talk as much.  Each of the students was pretending to be some character from previous Bible stories that we have studied.  The rest had to guess who they were by asking yes or no questions.  It took some time for them to understand how to play, but eventually they got it.  It was fun, but it was clear by the end of the day that I did not have any voice left.

The next day one more student had to leave for a meeting.  So, we were down to three students and me with no voice.  Shadrack could have taught the lesson, but he wasn't really familiar with what needed to be taught.  So, I decided to just send the students home and save the lesson for February when more students might make it to class and hopefully I will have more of a voice.  That class will be next week and my voice is still iffy.  So, I'd appreciate your prayers!

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