St. Gregory students learn as they teachby kenya on Jun. 08, 2013, under Life
June 7, 2013
By Noah Deitch, St. Gregory Class of ‘14
Today was our first day at our assigned schools. Alicia, who goes by Lish, and I are at Manyatta Primary School, just a 10-minute walk from Batian’s View.
Entering the day with no expectations, this experience was one of many laughs and much learning. When we first arrived we greeted the 180 or so students who were in the middle of the morning “parade,” which for us would be morning meeting. We waved and they all excitedly returned our greeting with many smiles and giggles. We then met with the teachers to create a schedule for me and Lish, but never got around to that.
Instead, and more interestingly, we all shared how we live our everyday lives. One Manyatta teacher walks 1½ hours to and from school each day. They were shocked to learn we drive a maximum of 20 minutes in air-conditioned cars to school. And now they know everything there is to know about the drive to and from Phoenix and the barren land that is in between. This was just a small example of what we shared, as I could have filled 10 blogs with all we talked about. Finally, however, Lish and I were given our “marching orders” and soon we were in front of our students
My first class was sixth-grade science, for which I didn’t have much time to prepare. Thank goodness for the teacher’s textbook, which had a lesson plan I could follow. I spent a good 70 minutes teaching every little thing there is to know about hay. Right after that I was assigned to teach 70 minutes about manure and fertilizer. There is only so much one can and should know about hay and fertilizer, but somehow there was enough material on hay to last the time.
I am quite positive that the students are now well versed in everything there is to know about hay and manure, but it seemed like every single student really wanted to be there in class. This made teaching much more comfortable and though they may not be aware, they taught me so much. When I taught a fourth-grade math class there was one student in the front row, and whenever I looked at him, he would have a big, toothy grin on his face, and that made me smile as well.
After a long day at school, Lish and I were tired and walking back to Batian’s View, looking forward to an afternoon cup of chai. Before reaching our goal, however, we began talking with a man who wanted to know everything about America. After explaining that America is above the equator and that we hadn’t met President Obama, we parted ways and he gave us an open invitation to his home anytime we wanted for a cup of chai.
Another surprising thing I learned was that the kids at Manyatta are astoundingly talented at volleyball. They made me look a fool and purposely hit it to me because they knew I would mess up the return, and then they would all laugh. By the end of my adventure in Kenya I know I will be much improved at volleyball, but still nowhere near as talented as these students.
Even though the kids speak English, with it being their third language there still is a bit of a language barrier between us. Regardless, whether it’s playing volleyball or teaching, the kids always try to find a way to communicate, which most often is accompanied by a smile and giggle.
I am only one day into my teaching experience and I have already learned so much. I have a feeling that I will end up learning much more from them than they will ever learn from me, but I will try. And that will make this experience completely worthwhile. I am so glad that I decided to embark on this trip and can’t wait for the next day to begin.