So how is it at School? The class starts at 08:00 but the kids come in gradually until 09:00. That means that we start with for example eight kids and by 09:00 there are 50 in one class room with an age from 3 to 5+. They all come in with little backpacks on their back and they keep them on for a large part of the morning. In those backpacks they have their paper notebook. For those children who cannot keep the notebooks clean at home they are stored in the classroom.
We start with singing a lot of English children songs, and repeat the English words they have learned. We go through e.g. the days of the week, the months, the colours or name the animal or fruit drawings on the wall of the classroom. The children all together repeat the English words after which some children are asked to come in front of the class and point to the words/drawings on the wall and say the word after which the whole class repeats it again.
Around 09:00 the class splits in two and I stay with the youngest ones. I collect all their notebooks and start writing for every child an individual exercise in their notebook adapted to the knowledge level they have. These excercises are e.g. writing a certain letter or number. Some have to write other do tracing that means that I put little dots in the form of a letter or number and they go over it with a pencil.
Once every kid has their exercise I help them with it as quite some need help. I never imagined that writing a simple ‘X’ would be so difficult for some of them. I ‘air write’ with them, write the letters together with them and wonder how after showing them so many times patiently how it should be done they still write something completely different. Hakuna matata.
These little adorable kids have a very short attentionspan and they are concentrated for approximately five minutes and then they are busy with something else like for example with their neighbours. So you constantly have to draw their attention back to their notebook.
I hear the whole day ‘teacher, teacher,…..’ as they want to get my attention for something. Often they continue in Swahili so I don’t know what they want but I just speak back to them in English. For them it is important that they hear English from someone with a different accent than their regular teacher. They have to get used to the sound of western English.
Somewhere between 11:00-11:15 they get a small portion of porridge in big jugs and at 11:30 the School is finished. In the afternoon there is no school for them.