Feb 22, 2010

Primary school jazz

 They're building a Grade R (kindergarten) classroom at my school. This seems rather foolish, as the Grade Rs already have a place to meet--in the library, (which has a few high school accounting textbooks with a good quarter-inch of dust on them). Not only that, the new Department of Education regulations stipulate that the learner/educator ratio is supposed to be 32. Here, where the average class size is around 16 or so and all the senior phase grades (7, 8, 9) have their own classroom, that can't last. Grade 7 and 8 are going to have to be combined after I leave, which will leave an empty classroom. Not to mention that enrollment has been consistently falling for the last 10 years. Oh well.

In other news, today I visited the primary school in the neighboring village for the first time and was blown away by the quality of the teaching, especially the Grade 2 teacher. The feeding scheme has broken down this week, so the kids hadn't even been fed, but she had the full attention of every single one of about 30 kids. Not one goofing off, or talking to her friend, or anything. She didn't hit them, or even chastise them at all. That kind of classroom management is spooky to watch--like a really good political rally or something, where the audience is just rapt. I don't think I'll ever be able to manage that--teaching little kids spectacularly well seems to require an uncommon mix of genuine enthusiasm and charisma, genuine love of children, and an aptitude for ruthless psychological manipulation. Whatever it takes, I don't have it. I'll have to settle for passable.
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