So, this last week was the Inservice Meeting for the Methodist Schools. We met Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Bob and I headed into town with our principal and the school's bus on Monday and stayed with Holly during those days.
So, basically what the Inservice Meetings were was just for all the teachers of my school and our sister schools on 'Upolu to get together and discuss lesson planning, exam writing skills, assessing students progress and to try and coordinate syllabi and tests between the 2 schools. It was interesting. First, it was nice because 2 other volunteers work at Methodist Schools as well as Bob and I, Cecilia and Peter. So we got to hang out with them and share experiences, and Bob and I got some great advice.First Day
The first day we split up into Tech School teachers and Secondary (High school) teachers. I am both, but since I will have more Secondary classes, I stayed with those teachers. We discussed assessments and basic things. At one time we split into groups and had to evaluate a sample student project. It was a blast. I was joking with some of the women at the other school. They were speaking in Samoan, but I love it because my Samoan is getting a lot better and they love it when you joke back with them in Samoan as well. So my first day wasn't that bad, but Bob was starting to get frustrated because he still wasn't sure what he was going to be teaching exactly within the Metal Working department, if he in fact did have a counterpart, and what his syllabus would be. That night him, Pete and Cecilia (Tech teachers) had to write out sample test questions because their days topic concerned writing tests.Second Day
The second day was a little frustrating for me because it was a lecture day in the Secondary teachers meeting. The man speaking was very quiet and slurred his words, and since my Samoan isn't the best to begin with, I just couldn't understand him. But, there is a Jika (Japanese Volunteer) working at that school, so I got to chat with her and get to know her a little during that part of the meeting. Which brings me to Bob's story for the day. He wrote his sample questions about sandwhiches. His first question that he wrote on the board in front of the other PCV and Samoan teachers was: "A B.L.T. consists of Bacon, Lettuce and what ingredient?" Options were: a) Tim Tams (A kind of cookie here) b) Taro c) Tomato or d) Tinned Fish
The other teachers looked at him and asked what a blt was. Then he explained to them that it stood for something. So they wanted to know what. So then he explained that the letters were the first letters of the ingredients in the sandwich. So they then wanted to know why he didn't write out the name of the sandwich instead of abbreviating it. He tried to explain that while yes it was made out of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, it is still called a BLT. To which then they said it would make more sense to just write out the whole thing. But if he did that then asking what is the last ingredient in a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich wouldn't really be an effective question. I guess it's not a common sandwhich here. Okay, after that confusion he wanted to move on to his second question. Which was: "A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich has ____ ingredients." The answer is 3 of course. But, one of the teachers raised his hand and said that he thought there was a gramatic error in Bob's question. To which Bob thought oh no, I spelled sandwich wrong. That actually never came up. The teacher said that he thinks the question should read, "A peanut butter and jelly sandwich have ___ ingredients." Bob was pretty sure it should sound the way he wrote it, but he was being patient and listened; he just got confused. So, they have peanut butter sandwiches here. And they have Jelly sandwiches. But they were thinking what kind of crazy person would put the two of those ingredients together? :) They thought there were 2 different sandwiches. After all the confusion was over, the teacher called Bob a Fancy Sandwich Maker. So, we asked Bob if he would be willing to make us one of those Bacon, Lettuce and Tim Tam sandwiches later, since he does like to make fancy sandwiches like Peanut Butter and Jelly. :) Everyone had a good laugh over it all together. So, not all sandwiches are universal.Third Day
The last day was my favorite. We were supposed to split into groups with the teachers of our same subjects at the other schools to try and coordinate our syllabi. I could not find the teacher from the Secondary school who teachers computers, and since Cecilia is the tech computer teacher, I sat down with her. Unfortunatly we had a problem. Her tech and primary schools are 2 separate schools. Ours is smaller and so it is still one school with both departments. I teach years 10,11,12,13 and Tech1 and Tech2. I have my tech classes about 3 hours a week each. Cecilia has them for 3 hours a day. Since I teach so many other classes, there is just no way I can meet with the tech classes that many hours a day. So we were unable to coordinate our syllabi, that is just too different. Then, I was being called because the secondary teacher of the other school had shown up and wanted to meet with me. I found out in fact that the teacher had resigned over the break and there was a new teacher that had didnt know computers as well that wished to speak with me about lesson planning. So we sat in the back of the hall and went over old lesson plans, planning books, old tests and the like trying to plan out some kind of syllabus. It was a blast. I felt like I was working finally. It was fun. Then my principal called me over and let me know that we had a new secretary that needed some help on her computer skills and asked if I could help her out a little. Bob's day was pretty good too. Turns out he will have a counterpart to train and work along side at our school, and they sat down together and wrote out a nice syllubus. So he got to finally get a good taste of what he would be working on out on Savai'i.Other Fun News
So, now it looks like I will be pretty busy over the next term that starts on Monday. I am looking forward to it. Though I am sure all of my friends back in Apia won't ever see me once school starts. ALTHOUGH I will be back in Apia for the weekend of February 5th. For the Superbowl! Go Seahawks! My fellow male Peace Corps volunteers had no faith in them and look how far they went! It will be fun to chear for them and see them win the whole thing. ;)
So, last night we had a bit of fun. Cecilia and Pete came over to Holly's last night. Bob and I spent the night there. And we invited the Jica over and we made Mexican food. We found a few ingredients that are a little harder to find in Samoa, and cooked up some enchilladas, spanish rice and beans. So we had Mexican food in Samoa with a Japanese Volunteer. Bob started to plan what he considers his best idea yet; a "True All-Volunteer Conference." Where all the PC, Jica, Australian and French volunteers in Samoa get together and have a fun party. Play softball, a couple other games and just have a blast. I think it would be fun if it happened. We know some Jica and Australian volunteers well that could get it going in their groups... It could happen. That is Bob's goal while he is here. Well, one of the many goals he has. But that's one of my favorites. We'll see how it goes.
So, school starts Monday. But I probably won't start teaching until the next week. The first week usually consists of registration, cleaning the school, cleaning the school grounds and such. I am looking forward to it. I think it will be interesting just trying to see where I fit in and what school will be like compared to the states.
Until next time...