Just before I was suppose to go to bed last night, my dear friend and work colleague knocked on my door. I invited her in and told her to take a seat. She then proceeded to ask me in this sweet voice whether or not I could teach for her at chapel in the morning. My first thought was “no, I am not prepared so it’s not fair. You need to give me more time” but I decided to hear her out. She told me of some things that she was told she must do which was a surprise to her as well and that she couldn’t get out of. This is typical here even though it drives me crazy but I have gotten used to it. So I finally gave in and said I would do it.
Word Of Life has a primary and nursery school. It is a separate entity from our ministry but shares the same name and morals. Every friday morning they have chapel for one hour which we are in charge of. They split the lower primary (gr.1-3) and the upper primary (gr.4-8) in two different sessions. I am often the one speaking in the lower primary with the little munchkins.
Learning styles and discipline is much different here in Kenya. Their learning style is to get kids to remember as much as they can for their national exams which they do in gr. 8 and gr. 12. The national exam in gr.12 pretty much determines your future. If you don’t do well, it is unlikely you can get into a good university. There is a lot of pressure to do well that’s why teacher’s main focus is to get kids to memorize as much information as possible. Whereas in the West, our philosophy is teaching kids to think, analyze, and learn by their selves. Discipline is also very different. In Kenya they have a lot of threats, embarrassment, and beating. They still do hit kids here when they misbehave (and even when they can’t do what the teacher is telling them which I do not approve of at all). If kids are disturbing the teacher, they will also embarrass them in front of the class or threaten them. In the West, if kid are not paying attention in class we are more likely to try and change our teaching styles so they will want to listen and learn. We want to engage them instead of punishing them because we are too boring for them. If we do discipline them, we take away some sort of privilege or call their parents but we never beat them or embarrass them in front of their friends.
So it’s different. And I have struggled teaching these little ones. My teaching style doesn’t quite work with them because they are so used to strict Kenyan ways. Also, I don’t want to just teach them one bible verse. I want them to understand it and be able to apply it in their lives. It has been a learning experience for me that’s for sure.
We had our class today outside under the tree since some of the other students were doing exams and we didn’t want to disturb them. I was unsure how the kids would react to being outside but they did a pretty good job.
Preacher! Ha, I am probably just telling them the bible verse in my slow, kenyan accent so they can be sure to understand me.
We have new visitors from Germany. They will be serving at Word of Life for one year. This is Kathrine. She was taking the photos for me. She is really great with kids!
One thing these kids do that really bugs me is they tell on one another a lot. This little boy walked in front while I was speaking to all the kids and interrupted me just to tell me his friend was disturbing him. I just told him to sit down but 2 minutes later I see him disturbing his friend so I call him up to the front. Our lesson today was “Love your neighbour as yourself” which worked perfectly as I told him that he didn’t like being disturbed so he shouldn’t disturb others. He just looked down and went quietly back to his seat.
Ok, then we played Simon Says. It is a good way to pass time and to get them to learn to listen. Hmm, I need to ask my dad if that is a good teaching method or not? I don’t think I was meant to be a teacher. But I try.