6eme A = Draw a boy or a girl 6eme D = Draw a woman or a man
In the beginning of December marked my 6 months in Benin. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I am a Peace Corps baby (no longer an infant who must be held at all times) who can eat solid food and also scoot around and crawl around a little. Let’s take a look at my highlights:
- I can make fried yams and tomato sauce
- I have a stellar closet of clothes thanks to the amazing seamstresses here
- I teach about 200 kids in total
- I speak at intermediate high French
- I’m “learning” Bariba
- I love taking motorcycles everywhere
- I can make amazing rice
- I can sleep through the 5 am call to prayer (50% of the time)
- I make a fantastic fudge
- I can make delicious deviled eggs
- My apple cider is astoundingly delectable
- I think everyday I’m 2 degrees away from having a heat stroke
- I got a cat
- My cats name is Jadzia
- My house is still pretty empty
- My students are amazing artists
- Netflix is my best friend
- I also made volunteer friends… they are also cool
- My phone got stolen
- I voted myself Best Dressed EVER lol
- Every time I make it to a city I get ice cream
- I got into a mini motorcycle accident. No worries all is well.
- I found a nail salon where I can get manicures and pedicures in Cotonou
- I tell people I am a mother now and when they ask I show them my new cat
- I am obsessed with the Marvel series on Netflix
- Every other day I find a lizard in my house… no biggie I’m not scared of them anymore and I’ve named them all Dax (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine reference)
- I still love ice cream with all heart
- My French has gotten better but my Bariba has not
- I have traveled all up and down Benin
- I’ve milly rocked on so many new blocks
- I have a goal of reading all the books in the Parakou workstation and so so far I have read about 12 out of Hella.
- I’ve mastered enough French to be as dramatic as I want to be.
- I love hashbrowns
- I’m a snack person not a meal person
- That being said unless the meal is super easy to make or I’m randomly super motivated that day I lose my appetite when it’s time to cook
- I lost a little weight ( a combination of me not eating as much as I use to, me eating pretty health and organic not by choice, me sweating my life away and my intake of water increasing a million percent)
- Send me a care package or letter!!!
One goal I have for my classes is to encourage the kids to be more creative and engaged and I also want a way to fairly give all the students a chance to earn extra credit. Sooooo tadaaaa I give them a bonus question at the end of every quiz to draw a picture. Please enjoy my student’s art because they are amazing.
Draw a picture of what you did during your holiday
- It’s hilarious how my students randomly clap for me
- In 5eme I said today is a test review and we are going to have the actual test in 2 days… I got a standing ovation
- We were learning vocabulary for music and I drew some stick figure drawings… I got a standing ovation
- A kid lied about their age to me and I said, “it’s false” in french… I got a standing ovation
- My 5eme class and I have warmed up to each other finally
- One day in 5eme the kids kept talking when I was talking and a student gave me a very thick branch and told me I must hit them… I didn’t
- My kids in 6eme think I will hit them because of how I move my hands to smack their copy books off their desk if they don’t hide their copy books after I tell them to hide their copy books.
- All my classes like me which is pretty cool and heart warming
- In 6eme one time a younger kid got too loud and one of the bigger kids tried to help manage by standing up and violently mushing them in the face… which was nerve racking to me
- All the teachers (including me) drove 30 mins on motorcycle to visit the principal who still hasn’t been to school because of sickness
- I know almost all the names of my 5eme class of 41 students
- I almost cried when the accountant removed students during class because their school fees weren’t paid
- One time I finished a lesson and we had 10 minutes remaining. Which was too little time to teach something but too much time to leave class without the administration raising their eyebrows at me. So I gave them the option to sing songs or ask me questions. I never had such engaged students asking me questions about English translations and if we ate pate or igname pilee in the USA
- I gave my class 2 hours of punishment and afterwards they created a mob around me begging them to forgive me so I started shoulder dancing which distracted them long enough for me to exit the classroom during their confusion
- 6eme gets so excited to learn and participate that everyone tries to get called on even if they don’t know the answer
- When asking if the students are finished copying the board, if everyone say no but two students say yes there’s a high probability that a verbal battle between yes and no will happen. During that time no students will be copying the board. Any steps you make toward the center of the class or chalkboard will be met with 6eme students yelling no no no not done in french out of sheer panick and the people who said yes getting hit by the no students.
- Co-teaching 6eme went so smoothly!
- English department meetings go over a lot of detail… too much detail…
- The Beninese are really into order and a set way of doing things. Which has both pros and cons. Pro: a lot of detail and labeling easy to see who did what because everything is super transparent. Con: room for creativity decreases, time consuming and time wasting in others,.
- Don’t let Beninese people look at your notes!! Especially if you don’t write everything verbatim and don’t have multiple titles on things.
- I prefer 6eme over 5eme. Week 2 I already know.
- Co-teaching 5eme was terrible and I realized that in my mind I’ll fight kids. I👏 DON’T👏 CARE👏
- I love my 6emeA students
Alrighty so my first week went surprisingly smooth. For Preentre, which is the week before, the students come and clean the school and the teachers find out their schedule.
In the picture below I am the A2 on the schedule:
So a simplified version of the schedule with just my info:
Monday: no classes. No students came until the last 20 minutes and I made them clean. I got a lot of fake students… students who were just curious about and tried to pretend like they were my students until they tooth jfound out I would be putting them to work.
Tuesday: finally my first classes! The 6eme who know basically 0 English and some don’t really understand French giggled at my accent when I explained who I was and our agenda for the day. Both of my classes 5eme and 6eme were totally taken off guard when I gave them a pre-test. The sheer terror and disbelief in the room was palpable. It was amazing I felt a little guilty but it needed to be done. 1. To see how much English they knew already and who already took this class and 2. To set the tone for class to let them know that BIIA DOESN’T PLAY WITH EDUCATION.
Thursday: gave my class who didn’t show up Monday their pre-test, class rules and important phases in English. This class is a little more ruckus-y than the last.
Friday: I think I’m too hard and expect my 5eme kids to know too much. I love teaching 6eme, it’s so fun.
It’s 10:30pm. After spending a couple hours earlier worrying about my house flooding after watching the water seep from under my doorway and slowly fill up my hall. I was able to just leisurely lay in bed reading one piece I got really into it but I started to get sleepy, since tomorrow is Wednesday (my free day) I was like hey why stress I should just go to bed. I prepare to go to sleep I see the biggest greenest meanest insect of my life and immediately I felt my life force being drained away from me. I went through all my possible options and eventually decided to walk to my host family’s house and ask for help. I made the 10 second trek through the rain to their house.
“Ko Ko Ko!” I said to let them know someone was standing in the dark, in the rain, outside of their window.
My brother came out so see me perched on a rock, hands folded like I was praying covering my nose and mouth. I tried to force a light and breezy smile and asked “are you busy?”
He smiled and said yes, looking very confused because I’m known for discouraging people from walking around at night and I don’t leave my house when it’s raining.
“Well there is a big big big big big insect in my room and I will die. Can you help me?” -Me
He goes back in the house to get his shoes and I instantly groan inside because now the whole family will know, which means the concession will know, which means everyone in village will know about tonight.
My mom comes out and asks what is it? What did I see? Her face grows a little concerned when she sees me in my praying hands covering my face stance (That I subconsciously go in apparently when I feel extreme fear or anxiety) which reflecting on makes me look quite serious and withdrawn and probably a little frightening especially since I’m always laughing and smiling.
“I don’t know. A monster?”- Me
10 second trek back to my house.
“Keep your shoes on.”, I say making sure my best line of defense is fully prepared for battle.
I scurry to my hallway so I can just barely see the monster posted on my bedroom wall and I whisper, “There!”
AND EMMANUEL GRABS IT WITH HIS BARE HANDS AND SAYS SEE YOU TOMORROW AND WALKS OUT MY HOUSE LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED!!!
I can’t deal man…