Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sekonyela High School

A view of my school.

So it’s about time I tell you what I do.  I teach math at Sekonyela High School in Popa, Mokhotlong.  The school system in this country follows that of most of the other former British colonies.  Kindergarten through grade 7 (7th grade) is known as primary school.  At the end of 7th grade the students take an exit exam.  Their scores determine what secondary schools they can apply for.  Secondary school consists of form A (8th grade) through form C (sophomore year).  After their form C year, the students take an exit exam that is administered by the Ministry of Education.  The form C exit exam is important as it determines what high schools the students can / will be accepted into.  High school consists of forms D and E, or junior and senior years respectively.  After their form E year, the students take a final exit exam, which is administered by Cambridge Education, and similar to the SATs in materials covered.  In theory, a student that does well on their form E exam, should be able to be admitted into most English teaching Universities throughout the world.

Sekonyela High School educates students from form A through form E.  

My school has roughly 480 students of those roughly 50 are double orphans and 200 are single orphans.  I am teaching one form A class of 70 students and two form D classes consisting of around 43 students each.  The country requires mandatory attendance of primary and secondary classes but high school is optional and students must pay school fees out of pocket.  Because of the fact that students are paying for high school, I find classroom management to be nearly nonexistent even in such large classes.

Here is a pic of a progress quiz marking the first two weeks.  I made the quiz way too difficult and the average score was around a 50%.  I was slightly worried that I would adopt the nickname “Adolf Wright” upon returning the graded quizzes but most of the students seemed unfazed.  It was really meant to be a learning experience for them as learners as well as me as their new teacher.  The quiz was extremely helpful in gauging problem areas, which I have spent the past week hammering.  

I try my best to keep the students motivated about the material.  I’ve found to a great degree, that if I’m not excited about teaching a subject, my students will not be excited or as willing to learn it.  I will often stop the students in class and make them stretch, take them on nature walks, sing to them, and very recently, I took the students outside and we rolled a giant (3 foot diameter) rock over together.  The heightened attention span I gain from a five minute break is easily worth the loss in class time in my short experience.  

I’ve officially brought “Funky Hat Friday’s” to Lesotho.  

More to come soon.  I just received a new travel camera (Brian thank you immensely for your help in shipping those items to me) and I will have it with me at all times.  I would also like to thank my dad and Ryan Ried for their experienced teaching advice.  Last but not least, I would like to thank Melinda for patiently listening to my daily struggles and rants throughout these difficult first weeks.  You always bring me hope.  Happy Birthday!


- Joel

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you rock'n that hat...and a beard. God is good. You know though that He made three kinds of people, right? Men with beards, women and children.

    - Mark