June 27, 2011 by k. liz
Well, I am actually sitting in a hotel room at the moment, so obviously I am not home! But, nevertheless, I am in the country of my origin. We have had quite the travels, and probably they will come up at some point. But, regardless, we are now in Atlanta, GA after a trip from Dakar, Senegal to Casablana, Morocco to New York, USA to Atlanta, USA we are here. However, this isn’t about traveling, its about AFRICA!!
I love Africa. We had a great time for the three weeks we were there. We went to spend time working with a team from the university that we attended in the States. We set up English classes and tried to connect with an English club and things like that. My husband and I were actually supposed to be facilitating the team teaching English and such, but I did get a few opportunities to teach. I just want to share one awesome opportunity and one hilarious story. So . . . here ya go:
The family that we were staying with in Africa had met a lady who taught at a local middle school in St. Louis, Senegal. He had told her that a group of English teachers were coming and that we could come over to visit her school. So, I had the opportunity to visit the school and see how they run firsthand. The students were maybe not highly motivated, but good students nonetheless. I think that Africans are just naturally more talented when it comes to language. Anyway, I also had the opportunity to teach or co-teach a few classes. That was amazing! I loved it. These classrooms have next to nothing in the way of extras. Just a bunch of tables and chairs with about 40-60 students inside. The teachers were interested in observing me teach because they have not had very much experience with the communicative method or using technology in the classroom. So, it was exciting. I really enjoyed the teaching aspect, but even more exciting and humbling to me was the fact that three of the English teachers came to visit me at the house I was staying and brought their notebooks to take notes and ask me questions. I felt completely unqualified to be giving advice to these teachers!! In all, it was a great opportunity for me to get involved with a local school, and I must say that it has started a good amount of thinking in my own mind!!
So, one night I was teaching in our informal free English class at a mission in the city. We were talking about family and had already done some activities with naming family members. I was about to start some discussion about who Africans view as their nuclear family. However, I did not want to just ask them the question simply, so I decided to work into my question by asking them “Where does your grandmother live?” One student shot up his hand very eagerly and so I called on him. He answered very frankly, “My grandmother lives in the cemetery.”
Really? How do you answer that? The rest of the class was dying laughing, so I tried not to, but couldn’t really help laughing. But, the thing that really got me the most was that he followed it up with “But it’s a correct sentence right?” Hm, I wouldn’t actually use lives there, but yeah, good job.