Because I live in Mozambique, the teachers’ extra hours were cut right at the beginning of the school year (teachers here have to teach 24 hours of classes a week to be considered full-time – in the years before if they taught more than 24 hours they would be paid overtime) and, understandably, no one wanted to teach extra hours for free. So I got stuck with a third year English class that hadn’t had any English classes that year since it had taken the school administration about two months to figure out the whole horas extras debacle (two months of twice a week classes, by that point they had missed almost sixteen classes).
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the nine students in my English class. It was the waiting/bartending group, so they really wanted to learn English, never cheated during tests, and were generally good kids. But I had over 300 kids in my chemistry classes . . . and nine kids in my English class, using a curriculum and lesson plans that I had to plan two months into the year. It sucked and I felt awful, but I just couldn’t devote nearly as much time to my English lesson plans as I had to devote to my chemistry plans. With chemistry I was able to get into a rhythm – I taught the same lesson eight times. Boring, but for someone who had never taught (or communicated in Portuguese) it meant that my lessons substantially improved and that I was able to become comfortable with teaching chemistry by the second semester. With English, however, I would give a lesson once, and then write another one. And repeat. All of my English students passed the national test, but I was not satisfied with my lesson planning or engagement with the material until about a month before the end of the year.
This year is different. I fought really hard to only teach chemistry this year – I didn’t want to have that one token English class that I just didn’t have time for (especially since this year I’m also involved in other activities outside of school as well as attempting to get my life together before moving back to the states). But this is Mozambique and despite having the schedule all put together, the Friday before school started I had four of my eight chemistry classes taken away and was given three third-year English classes. And I was not happy about it.
Also, the most important thing happening in my life is that tangerine season has officially begun! Which means that winter is just around the corner and I'm back to sleeping under blankets, eating oatmeal in the mornings, and feeling cold (although those of you in the midwest might disagree, this is truly a wonderful thing).
Random Note: I have been in an ongoing war with my blog font. But despite my best efforts it keeps changing back to the same font. I give up, the cursive stuff isn't what I want, but I refuse to spend more time fighting it (if you don't see the cursive font, that's a good thing).