I started the day by waking up at 6:30 am. I had anticipated hitting snooze a few times, but once that alarm went off, I was too anxious to go back to sleep. I left early and took my stroll on the beach which leads to the high school; what a gorgeous sight. I got to the school around 7:15 am and the only teacher there was Miss Usher. She likes to chat with the students as they walk into school, something the students really seemed to appreciate. They all joked around with her and she hit them back. Around 7:45, students were all filing in and Miss Usher invited me to the morning prayer, which I don't think would every work at public school in America. After that, it was explained to me that I was more or less just going to be passed around to all of the teachers in the English department all day.
This school operates on nine periods of 45 minutes. So I felt like I was constantly moving. The teachers introduced me as Mr. Will and I spoke a little about myself, where I'm from, what I'm doing here, and then let the students ask me questions. Most of the students didn't have much to say except for the students in Miss Usher's class as she told them that they looked stupid if they didn't ask me questions. As soon as one person asked a question, the others followed. A lot of students wanted to know about what I did on my free time, if I actually chose to teach at San Pedro, and why I wanted to teach. They were very curious and interested in American culture; this made me very excited.
All-in-all, students are very similar here as those in the states. Students have their own styles, cliques, and would rather talk then listen to the teacher. Students are working on their dreaded five paragraph essay, reading Wuthering Heights and learning grammar and how to interact politely in society: not so different than the Standard Course of Study in North Carolina.
Something that makes for an interesting divide in the culture are the three languages spoken: Spanish, Creole, and English. Spanish and English are pretty standard languages, but the Creole is fascinating. The only way I can describe it is jumbled up language that sounds a lot like the Jamaican characters in "Cool Runnings." Miss Usher and almost all of the students speak it and when she yells at child she says, "whatchaboy!" which translates loosely to "What are you doing boy?" You'd think I might be able to deduce what they're saying, but for whatever reason, I can't get a hold of it, and students know this. I totally heard them speak in Spanish or Creole and giggle when I was in the front of the class, in which case I just smile and laugh with them. I can only imagine the horrible things they're saying about me.
This was a tiring day, but I am excited. I will be working with five different teachers, helping to teach different elements of Language Arts, so I have my work cut out for me this weekend. I will be prepping to teach "The Lottery," Wuthering Heights, thesis and planning for essay writing, The Mystic Masseur, and listening comprehension: that's just Monday thru Wednesday. I will be busy grading papers from Miss Usher's Form 1 as well this weekend. I'm going to be busy, but in the end, that's why I'm here. I'm terribly excited and fascinated about this opportunity and can't wait to dive into the school and the culture.
Until the next blog,