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This week will be the completion of the 15 weeks of the first term at the Junior High School where I teach. Because the classrooms are crowded, the students gather under the large mango tree in front of the school for their end of term exams. The Form 1 class (7th grade) finished the term with 69 students and the Form 2 (8th grade) with 51 students. Fortunately the tree is large enough so everyone can be in the shade and the dry season has arrived, so little chance of rain. This weekend I will be grading, calculating and posting grades for maths and computer tech. I am as anxious as the students to see the outcome as it will give me a chance to measure my teaching success and see if I should make adjustments as Term 2 begins the second week in January. I am pleased that I am doing just what I volunteered to do and enjoying the daily challenge of working to inspire my students to get an education. They are still at the beginning of that process and my classroom includes the full range of student interests, from the "not interested" to the "Mr Ernest, help me with this problem." Most have more obstacles to overcome than I can imagine; no electricity in the home, no books, parents that need them to help with the farming or in the home, few role models to encourage getting an education, lack of opportunity in the workplace, and others.
I do not plan much travel for the holiday season as I still have a number of things to complete at my living area that have been put on hold during classes. I will get my kitchen up off the floor by completing the building of counters and setting up the place to cook. I will also start trying to rebuild some of the broken down furniture from the school. Students must provide their own desk and chair and over time a substantial number of unusable pieces have collected at the school. If I can repair, students with financial need can use them. Never done anything like that, but I have enjoyed working with my hands so looking forward to that opportunity.
I continue to be healthy although level of activity, exercise, temperature and diet have caused some weight lose. Thank you for your continued interest in my new job.