Electricity – 1/9/14

by Haley Berl

This morning, we woke up and went to observe Evens. Today, it was a 7:15 am 8th grade English class. They moved from the present simple to the present progressive tense. Gregory, Marie and I sat amongst the students took observational data in the form of written notes.  The method of instruction was what we have deemed to be traditionally Haitian. The flag was raised at 7:45 in the morning, and then we went inside to eat breakfast. The morning menu consisted of three different types of steamed bananas with sweet potato, served with spicy onion sauce and avocado. Antionette, the house cook, is wonderful. She also made us coffee and grapefruit juice.

The remainder of the morning was spent planning our ESL lesson for the community. Based on the large number of attendants yesterday, the class was divided into three groups, although we plan only one lesson. We planned to review what we taught yesterday (routines and the simple present), and then move on to body parts (per the suggestion of Evens). We also spent some time planning for the teacher workshop that will begin tomorrow.

Then, I observed a 3rd grade French class. Students focused on forms, and the conjugations of verbs, like “avoir” and “etre” in tenses like the simple present indicative and the simple past. They knew a lot of grammar for a class of 8 year olds! After class, I hung out for a bit in the courtyard with the students. A couple of days ago, I would ask student what their name was. I am never able to hear or understand what they say (Haitian French sounds different than France French, especially when little kids are speaking), so I would ask them to write their name in my notebook so I could see what it looks like. Now, students approach me, asking if they can write down their names in my book. It would seem that students consider writing their names down equivalent to knowing them personally.

Before lunch, I went with James and Jean Louis (Pere Noe’s cousin) to James’ grandmother’s house. We drank milk prepared especially by her – boiled with sugar, then refrigerated. It was delicious. Then, we went back to the house to eat lunch: it was lamb in sauce, rice, salad, and French fries. Again, Antoinette outdid herself. Pere Noe explained that Haitians eat two big meals- breakfast and lunch. Dinner is usually light, and tastes somewhat like what Americans would think of as dessert. We waited until our afternoon class.

The lesson plan consisted of two main topics – the human body, and describing sicknesses (with the verb “to have”). On the whole, the class really liked this lesson, and they felt like they learned a lot. We also sang “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” I tried to incorporate a Haitian way of conjugating the verb, and lots of oral repetition. I was pleased because I was able to conduct the lesson in a very American way that was a little less shocking than the first class they had.

The power kept going out today. Pere Noe asked an electrician to come to fix the solar panels on the rectory (where we’re staying) and also to set up the computer lab. He is bizarre, to put it mildly. However, he is also here to help set up the electricity for the computer lab. The lab might not be ready by the time we leave, but the ball is definitely rolling. Pere Noe even showed us the desks he wants to buy.

We’re beginning to plan our teacher training workshop, and have begun planning a bit for it. We will likely prepare more tomorrow. Can’t wait to see what the workshop will bring.

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