Wednesday, May 13, 2009

since last monday (update)

A week and a half ago, I taught my first class at the women’s center. My French came out surprisingly steadily. I felt accomplished afterwards, though the success of the class was due to the students: the adults were genuinely interested in the material, and asked questions showing they had thought things through. Since they are motivated, they have the patience to piece together my improvised explanations. Unless someone is patient enough to work through the linguistic puzzles I create, it’s just not worth the breath to speak French at them. It is however, far from my true niche, since I have yet to find a way to teach a class without being the center of attention.

Alternately, I felt pretty confident in my French communication skills after my meeting to break the news at school. I went into my counterpart’s office and explained that I was disappointed with my work over the past year, and that I had found another job. I pointed out that at the women’s center I would be able to teach a practical course. He said that the school was not disappointed, and that he thought I had done a fine job. He then said he suspected I preferred the women’s center since I will be teaching all women, adults, and not struggle with discipline. Officially, I am motivated to make this change because the lycée relegated me to theory-only classes. However, he correctly surmised that is not the sole reason. Binary doesn’t frustrate me to tears, where as discipline problems have proven perfectly capable of ruining my whole day.

For the time being, I am observing the afternoon class at the CPFF (last Monday I substituted) and filling out the rest of the paperwork at school. This past week my troisieme, premier, and teminale students took their exams, and yesterday my quatrieme classes did. I plan to have the tests marked and the grades turned in before heading to Yaoundé for the Education Steering Committee meeting. I am really looking forward to a short vacation from Ngaoundéré. I grow increasingly annoyed by the harassment white skin attracts, and feel more ready to confront the harassment Yaoundé offers. Somehow, it’s less grating if it’s not happening on the same block I live on.

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