Just a blog about a girl joining the Peace Corps and taking her life adventure to South Africa.
The views expressed here do not represent the views of Peace Corps or the U.S. Government. They are solely my own.
So I was gonna wait a bit before I made a post about teaching, but eh, I have internet now so why not.
First of all, teaching is literally the HARDEST thing I think I’ve ever done in my life. I literally have so much more respect for every teacher I’ve ever had, and I also want to go apologize for every dumbass thing I ever did in school, because karma is def coming back to bite me.
It’s been about a month and a half since school started. I’m starting to find my groove and I’m trying to figure out how to get these kids to learn something from me. Some days I feel like I just stood in front of the class and was a clown, other days I feel like they actually learned something. Either way, every day is new and everyday is a challenge.
Right now I’m still having a hard time getting my classroom management down, they still like to talk A LOT and get out of their seats and do this and that, which is distracting to me and the rest of the class. It’s tough, but I’m hoping with some more time it’ll get better.
I have been staying after school almost every day for at least an hour and a lot of my learners have been coming, I think it really is improving their English (even if they are just coming to get a star). I wish some of my slower learners would come after school and actually give me a chance to teach them and work with them, but I know how they feel, when I was frustrated with something that I just didn’t get I responded with an attitude and I didn’t necessarily cause a ruckus, but I def didn’t act like the A and B student that I was. I just am unsure of how to reach out to them, and I’m hoping somehow I’ll figure it out. Until then, I’m just trying to do my best and at least get small bits of info into their brains. The teaching struggle is real bro.
Other than the rough spots, teaching is becoming part of my everyday, and it’s feeling more like a job. Which is making things her feel more like how they would in the states. Not completely of course, but at least I can tell myself at the end of the day that I would be working at a job in the states, just like I’m doing now, and while I may not get a ton of enjoyment, I would be feeling the same about work in the states that I do here. (I really hope that makes sense). Basically, I’m not going to be a teacher after this, no offense to any teachers or aspiring teachers out there, but teaching is just not something that I can see myself doing. I love the kids… for the most part, but there’s just too much pressure and too much responsibility that I don’t want. (add that to the “things I learned in PC” list)
I do love my kids though. They drive me insane, but I’m starting to see their personalities and they’re warming up to me and me them. Now outside of class they’re joking and laughing with me, spending time with me, and some even walk me home from school. Its cute, and I hope the relationships I have with them continue to grow and they see me as a mentor rather than some white girl that came to live in their village and teach at their school. I want them to know my story and I want to know theirs and together we show the world that it doesn’t matter wth you’ve been through, because where you’re going can be better. (I just fell of the cliche train!!!!) But its true. I go home exhausted everyday and I have my own internal battles that I fight with myself, and I miss home like hell, basically things here aren’t the easiest, but, there are things that make it all worth it. now as soon as I get my mind right, I can truly start to appreciate them.
One day at a time….
So, I’ve finally started teaching. Its def a whole different world than being a student. Right now I’m having a hard time with classroom management and the kids can get rowdy, but I’m doing my best, and I think they’re learning. Or, I hope they are….
I also started staying after school and doing a study sesh with my gr 5 kids, I think it’s really helping them because they get extra practice with English, and I can see small improvements already.
So far that’s all I got, I’m def feeling the karma for the kind of student I was in school haha, but I’m also trying to teach a foreign language to grade 5 kids. These problems were to be expected and it’s not terrible, I just def do not want to be a teacher as a career. There’s way too much pressure.
Well this is a tad late, but I finally have a new laptop charger and can use my computer again.
So vacation was pretty sick. Started out our trip in Coffee Bay and it was BEAUTIFUL. The beach was perfect, and it was just a really chill place. Our backpackers offered a hike/cliff jumping thing so we decided to go, little did we know that we would be hiking to our death and prob should have signed some waivers before doing it, or at least wore regular shoes and not flip flops. It was still cool, and def makes for a great story to tell.
Our next stop on vaca was at a place called Spot Backpackers, it was a chill place, chill vibe and just chill. haha Kat and I went Kayaking up the river that goes to the ocean, that was an adventure. I had the worst balance and fell out of the kayak twice. We also went to the town about 30 mins away and did touristy things. Melissa got a tat, and Kat and I got piercings. I also bought sunglasses, of course.
Next stop was Mantis and Moon, this place was really cool. We stayed in a tree house dorm and the backpackers was really pretty. Kat and I went to the Orbi Gorge and did the zipline tour, it was soooooo cool. High speed and a really pretty view. Def worth every penny we spent. I took a surfing lesson which was def way harder than I expected. Did quite a bit of drinking and acting like a fool, and just hung out.
Our last stop was Happy Hippo in Durban to finish out the year. The beach was the best. Perfect waves, perfect temperature, just amazing. We hung out pretty much, ate good food, met up with other PCVs, did some shopping, ate some more, and went to the beach. New Year’s was mostly good. Got to run down the street in my dress and flip flops with pizza so we could make it back to the group in time for midnight.
The next day we drove back to our sites. It was a long trip and it was full of ups and downs, but it was pretty epic to have my first vaca in SA under my belt.
That title couldn’t be more appropriate for this blog post. I spent roughly 10 days at IST(in-service training) or ISV(vacation) as we joked, but really it just made me realize that I am not the only one that has stuff to bitch about, but I am the one that is doing a lot of the bitching. Complaining about sexual harassment, the sustainability of our projects, and just overall being a whiny baby about anything and everything. Why? Well, for one, I’m a vocal person and getting it off my chest is just how I’ve learned to cope with things as I’ve gotten older, for two, I just want to know that I’m not alone and if I bitch, maybe others will bitch too.
The problem is bitching isn’t gonna make the change, us sticking this thing out and making small changes is. I can’t keep dwelling on the negative and never looking for a positive, I need to suck this shit up, deal with my situation and accept that I’m not gonna be able to take every bit of shit that’s thrown my way and change it, but I can make some change.
This post comes as we are mourning the loss of a great man, a man that dealt with soooo many obstacles in his life and still one of the quotes that resonates in my mind is "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." That quote hits me so hard in my heart that it’s overwhelming. I spent the last week complaining and trying to make sense of wth I’m going to deal with for the next two years, but instead I need to focus on the now, focus on the things I can change and handle and accept that with those changes there will be some failures, I can’t dwell on what I won’t accomplish or what won’t change, but instead realize that I am part of a bigger picture. I am a small change that will one day affect the world. I’m no Nelson Mandela, but I am part of the dream that he and so many before him have fought for. I am a member of the world, not just an American, not just a PCV, not just a woman, I am someone that has a lot more to offer than a drunken rant about the differences in gender or the hardships I’ll face as a teacher in South Africa. I can’t allow the bullshit to deter me just as Mandela fought his entire life to create change.
Nelson Mandel continues to inspire me and will continue too throughout my service because like Mandela, I am doing something bigger than myself and that’s worth fighting for.
RIP Madiba, may you continue to fight for change though your legacy and inspiration.
So its Nov already. Seems like I’ve been here forever and yet not at all. Its a pretty crazy feeling actually.
So I suppose I should update you on what’s going on right? I mean that’s mostly what I created this blog for and that’s prob why you are reading it, neh?
Well here’s the update. IST(basically a fancy word for training) is coming up and I’m actually pretty stoked, it will have training sessions, but it’s also a break from village life and being around a million people asking a million questions or making a million demands. Plus I get to see my frannnssss and that’s always nice.
Village life reminds me of Lancaster, a small town with nothing else to do but drink and have sex. Now, I’m not saying that’s entirely a bad thing, what I am saying is that it gets boring. You have to find new ways to keep yourself busy, my way is watching a redic amount of movies and reading books. Which at first was miserable, but I’m getting used to it and the alone time sting is easing up. I’m actually finding myself feeling relieved when school gets out and I get to run home and hang out in my room for a few hours before I have to rejoin the world and watch Generations. (A pretty awesome SAfrican soapie) Anyways, I can’t lie, village life isn’t all that grand, you walk around the village once and you’ve pretty much seen everything that there is to see. I did discover a new tuck shop a couple weeks ago which was cool. I doubt I remember how to get there though.
The term at school is ending and all the learners are pretty much taking their exams and heading home. It’s not a very exciting time for me since I don’t have exams to mark, but it is nice to enjoy the lack of stress from having to teach and mark exams and basically do my job for right now. Come Jan, that’s all gonna be different. I’m pretty ready for this phase to be over though, I wanna teach and get started with stuff, I don’t really like observing, I learn and focus better when I’m actually doing and I have the chance to fall on my ass and then get back up. But alas, I’m in PC, I don’t always get what I want or what I’m comfortable with.
Speaking of teaching I have a tentative schedule that I will be teaching. I will have Grade 5 English which will be 10 periods, then I’ll have 8 periods of Physical Education, which means I really need to try and remember wth I learned in PE class so I can teach it. It’s part of the life skills unit so I have to review the requirements and make sure the learners know them, and that will be for all grades.(mind you in SA they don’t start teaching English until grade 4, so I’m teaching PE to learners that prob won’t understand a word I’m saying, but it’s PE, its all about the body language anyways) Then I will have some periods dedicated to the school library and having different grades come in to check out books and have reading time. I think it’s a pretty good schedule and it will def keep me busy. Not to mention I have a girl’s and boy’s group that I want to start, helping the current athletics coach with coaching, and hopefully starting a college bound group at the high school.
These are the dreams I have right now. Who knows if they’ll work, but they’re nice to think about and plan for now so I stay busy. Like I keep saying PC is all about keeping busy or you’ll go insane, not that you’re not already insane for joining PC in the first place, but yeah.
Kenny left for the Navy last Thursday, I was surprisingly ok for some reason, did a little crying while he was swearing in, but I spent so many months dreading it and stressing about it, that when the day came, I was just numb. I miss the kid, and there’s so many times I want to text him and know I can’t, but he’s starting his adventure and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of him.
I can’t deny that things here haven’t been the best. There’s still so many hurdles to jump through, things that I’m learning and trying to teach, and just dealing with myself in this crazy environment that I’ve thrown myself into. I need to be more assertive with the staff at my school and my host family. I let them say what they want to me and I just bottle it up for fear of disrespect and I’m finding myself holding resentment toward them instead of wanting to learn from them. Granted there’s things that they’re telling me that I need to listen too and I have to accept as part of my new life, but I also have to be able to say no when there are things that I just won’t do or can’t do. I might be in SA, but I am still American and I am not used to everything that goes on here, which I am trying to learn, but there are also things that just don’t need to be done. Like bathing twice a day, I’m sorry, but that’s just not gonna happen, I barley wake up early enough to get dressed and make it to school, most of the time I don’t even eat breakfast before I get to school. But little things like that I have to just say no too and stop constantly worrying about pissing someone off, because right now, the only person that keeps getting pissed off is me, and that’s not really gonna help me get through the next two years.
Other than that, things are getting along. The homesickness is easing up and I’m getting into a routine and kinda just going through the motions. Not the best way to go about it, but hey, I’m still here, and no one can really say shit about how I’m getting through my service. I’m ready to start teaching and get the new year underway. But I’m also SUPER ready to go on vacation in Dec and actually get to be a tourist. I’m sure I’ll write a separate post about it when it gets here. So I’m not gonna talk too much about it now. Just counting down the days until Sunday and then till vaca. Cause PCV life is mostly about the countdowns. Sad but true. Until the next time I get wifi. I’m out!