Half way mark!! Our time in Uganda has been an indescribable mix of highs and lows. I think Ashley sums up the emotional rollercoaster best when she said life here just feels “more”. In our 5 short (or long depending on the moment you ask us) days of teaching the interns have had the opportunity to put our past seven semesters of educational theory and ideas of running a classroom to the test. We’ve all had our share of “plot twist” moments of insecurity, but our doubts are always overshadowed when the dots connect for our students and in the moments they make the brilliant connections, we remember what it is that makes us want to teach.
1. Humility and flexibility = key in the classroom: One of the biggest hurdles in teaching at Sunrise is the language gap. For all of our students, English is a second language and beyond the limited polite phrases none of us speak Lugandan. It is heart wrenching to make it halfway into a lesson and realize that the award worthy activity you have planned is only understood by 1/4 of the class. This is when our relationship with the cooperating teacher kicks in and we put the label of “collaborative” education to the test. Our internship is a chance for us to truly learn from and with our teachers here in Uganda, they are kind enough to call us colleagues, and watching them work a classroom, helps to set the standard we are striving to create in our own rooms next year. Each of us can name a time our teacher helped swoop in with a translation to save the day, or noticed something happening and fixed the issue before it became a problem.
2. Songs are the quickest way to a kid’s heart: the ideal song is one that involves enough jumping to cause wheezy breath and red faceed muzungus. Bonus point if part of the song is in Lugandan
3. Best way to eat a mango: Mom I’ll share when we get back.
4. The importance of knowing where our kiddos come from: Friday we got to do home visits to see where our students live and meet their families. Knowing a student’s home life helps us better teach them because we can understand them in a new way.
5. We need our tribe: The mushy-gushy mantra of the education department has proven itself oh so true. When planning lessons in the cassisita pavilion each night, or brainstorming ways to connect with reticent students, talking it out with people who share my philosophy and goals for my students has proven invaluable. It’s nice to have people cheering you on and people you want to celebrate with when something extra successful goes down in the classroom.
6. The happy cry is just as important as the sad cry.