Friday, July 11, 2008

From the Mouth of Babes

So the Guidance Counselor (my counterpart) was off at a workshop all last week and I got to take her classes. The first day I flopped and taught bizarre lessons where I couldn’t find the chalk and the students didn’t have writing utensils and everyone spoke to me in a ridiculously high-pitched voice (this is how they think Americans talk—I am greeted at least 20 times a day with “Hiiiiii” said in such an offensive, nasally way that it makes me cringe).

Okay, so Tuesday. Tuesday I get my footing back and I remember I’m planning for 50 African kids, not 10 ESL kids and things go a bit smoother.

By Wednesday I’m on a roll and the kids are asking me to stay for their next period and I’m contemplating how to engage them when – bingo… I remember The Peace Corps Assessment Survey. Perrrfect… I’ll distribute a questionnaire which will lead to discussion which will lead to more integration which will make up for the Monday-flop. Yee-haw.

So the first 21 questions of the survey are meant to get their wheels turning by having them rate (on a 1 – 5 scale) the quality of teaching, parent involvement, staff respect, exam preparation, food nutrition, access to resources, information dissemination, corporal punishment, etc. etc.

Once they’ve fully contemplated several aspects of their school’s quality they are then asked:

“In your own words, please write a few sentences describing
how your school experience could be made more positive.”

I administer this survey to over 300 students and spend the weekend reading through their profound and often heart wrenching responses. They describe their beatings, being insulted by the teachers, going days without food, being denied extra help in their classes, etc. etc. Fortunately these concerning comments are scattered among a number of amusing complaints and your typical high-school-kid concerns like: “I wish I could talk with my friends more.” and “Why can’t we spend all day in the computer lab?”

So in honor of these 300 Burning Little Soles I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite comments from their surveys. Naturally, these are anonymous. You will notice that many of them are still perfecting their English but it appears that sometimes those who must resort to simpler language have expressed their thoughts in an even more profound manner.

I have selected the most amusing and powerful comments from the bunch.

* Building new toilets which use water.
* Teachers should not beat students for minor things like laughing.
* Being accepted as I am and not as I should be.
* There are teachers that like to shout to us when they get in the class they say we didn’t bathe.
* Our tradition should change and we should have friend who are boys.
* Students should be beaten on the bumps.
* Teacher should punish for a reason.
* Giving us more food and removing beans.
* Teachers should not tell students that they are stupid.
* Bring more experiences and buying one of each a laptop.
* Discipline could be enforced because students are seriously out of control.
* I think we should be treated at daycare centers where students use computers if we want (please).
* The stick is not solving anything so they should reduce beating.
* Teacher should be more friendly to us and always give us help when we need it even if they don’t like us.
* Teachers should beaten us in the hands almost every day.
* I think the school should be rebuilt again.
* Something that can make school better for me is no clean-up the school.
* Teachers should stop chewing gums when they are teaching.
* Watching television or playing which will help our being free from stress.
* Knocking off from school at 15:30.
* Teachers should mind their language when talking to students.
* By employment toilet cleaners.
* Change of school uniform to a more brighter color.
* Entertainment.
* Changing school stationary.
* Have more security so that thieves cannot store anything in our school.
* I think teachers should attend guidance and counseling classes on Tuesday and Wednesdays.
* Teachers should stop calling students with nicknames.
* More classes and toilet doors.

And, my personal favorite…

* If there was food and allowed to have girlfriends, I will rejoice.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I would rejoice too.... :)