Monday, August 29, 2011

Santa Klaus of the Kalahari

Today, I came to our classroom to deliver color copies of letters that have been written by our Pen Pal School in Spain. In addition to letters though, they sent some books, t-shirts, and a special package for one of our students as well. I felt strange, walking to school with a big box, and even stranger walking into the classroom with this big box and not opening the box for the students to see. We decided to let the students look at the books tomorrow when I have my camera, but of course, the teachers had to look at everything first. I was trying not to feel appalled when 2 teachers on 2 separate occasions took the special package (some clothing and books for one of the students from her penpal) and dumped the contents on their desks, looking at every item of clothing and making comments in Setswana, it's like they'd never seen a turtleneck before, the entire rest of the class gathered in a large circle around the desk. I know it's not polite of me to comment on these things, and I'm trying to find some rationale for understanding why these things happen here and why in particular I feel like they shouldn't happen here. The student was present, nothing was stolen, and the student didn't seem in any way upset by the public pronouncement of her gifts. In fact, when I gave the bag to her, it seemed like her smile could have lifted her into the air, it was so big. We are holding a random drawing for the t-shirts tomorrow. The names of all of the students who participated in the letter exchanges "seriously" are going to be put in a hat and drawn at random. "Serious" participation was determined by the teachers and based on whether or not the student wrote back to their penpals consistently. I know I have my favorite students… maybe that's why I felt like the system was a bit subjective. If it were up to me, I would've rigged it so that the students I like, the ones that I feel are doing an honest job of writing letters, would benefit the most. I guess that's why I'm not a teacher. I couldn't handle the pressure! Also, I STILL can't remember most of my kids' names...

In other news, I signed onto facebook today and was greeted with this message:

...and I still do.

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