Today was PE day and I decided to bring in the pro-rounders set we were to donate. As many of you know we had a great crowd of carol singers at Shenfield Station collecting donations to purchase, amongts other things, a full on rounders set. We got its 6 foot oversized box successfully on the flight with no extra charge, balanced it precariously on the trolly leaving the airport, crammed it into the back of the taxi from the airport to our home, dragged it up to our room and shoved it under one of the beds. Now it was time for all this effort to come to fruition. Today was the day, as I figured I would have the chance to teach one or two classes how to play each week. That way everyone will get a turn with the now new English Rounders pro (not, some of the rules I make up as I go along and as I get into full flow I even start making up hand gestures like some makeshift cricketing umpire). It all seems to go well and the children jump and scream each time they score a rounder, love it.
The library has started to take off. Children now come at breaktime and ask “Madam, can we have a book to read”. I bring the library to their class and they eagly take out the books and immediately sit in class during breaktime and read. The level of books they choose to read is well below their age and capability, children in Belles class choose Pepper Pig and Topsey and Tim above anything with too many words. I think they like the pictures as much as the stories and seeing as there are no pictures of any type on the school walls and no sign of creative art anywhere (even though it is timetabled) these colourful pictures act as a sort of stimuli. Im glad I chucked a pack of bluetac in my luggage as an after thought, so now I want to put some class art up before I go particularly the little faces that Emmas class have painted.
The long cane sticks continue to be freely wealded throughout the day by teachers young and old, male and female, experienced and new. Even the probationary teacher who bearly has the confidence to look you in the eye has plenty of confidence when it comes to caning his class of 6 year olds. It’s a difficult sight to stand by and watch. My dad has written explaining that this was what school life was like during the 30s in England and I can see that the schools approach to education is reflective of our past methods. But this is 2012 and the Ghanaians want to be a progressive and modern nation.
Belle came out of class this afternoon in tears because she had to witness her teacher whacking one of her new girl friends. It scared her. I was relieved that Prince saw her cry and he promised that the cane would no longer be used in her class whilst she was there. Her teacher has also confirmed this – I try to show gratitude and respect for the decision but wish we could have a more meaning full discussion about the need for this type of discipline. Give it time and who knows. I have talked this over with another volunteer at the quiz night as they work in a care home where caning is banned. I wonder if Projects Abroad can have any leverage considering they are the supplier of all the international staff that the school is proud to boast. I will mull this one over.
Before I close thanks again for all the positivity surrounding the blog, it inspires me to write and makes it feel like your all here. As for donations my first wish would be for more second hand reading books to be brought over by Matt and I wondered if someone might get in touch with Sally the PFA chair lady and see if anything is still left of the books from the Christmas bazzar. There were loads of the paper back story books which are ideal as they are fully of colour, a favorite accross most age groups and light in weight. Please let me know.
I will speak to Sally regarding the books. I'm sure there are still books left from the bazaar and we can sort out the good ones for you. I think its a wonderful thing you are doing and very brave of you to take the girls- but it will be an experience that none of you will ever forget. I have been reading your blog and its fantastic , so well done and keep it up.
I will mail Sally today and let you know what she says.
I am sorry that the caning episode upset Belle but it’s a positive thing that they have agreed not to do it in her class anymore.
To be honest, this is how education was in SA when I was at school, even high school. It has only been in the last 20 years that things changed in SA. Maybe this kind of change in education methods has been slower in Ghana because they have less influence from western countries? Perhaps you can provide a bit of a shakeup at the school and maybe you could demonstrate other ways to discipline children that are more effective than beating them!
It sounds like you are having a very positive influence on the school, keep up the good work!!!
I have spoken to Sally and we have books that you can have. Any specific age range or type you want? We can sort out what you need and then put them aside and Matt could collect at sometime, or could drop off if thats not possible.
So sad to hear of Belle's upset. But what a result for her class - having two months of respite is a gift in itself. I will also speak to some of my friends and see what I can do second hand books wise. It sounds like the picture books are providing the most joy and enthusiasm.