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I’m teaching professional studies this term to our level two students. They go out for 8 weeks to do observations and interviews in the schools. Year two has a big section on child development so we decided to send them to nursery schools to see children who are in earlier stages of development. It is going to be a big project for them which has five parts. I discovered that they are not entirely clear about what it means to observe so we did some practicing. I taught them not only how to observe but how to teach observation to children. They also are to interview three nursery school teachers. Interviewing and taking notes while you interview is a new experience. I had them practice with one another and then I recruited the level three students to be interviewed. They were very willing and did a good job of giving answers and advice. It’s been a good experience for both classes. The pictures are of the level two students going out for their first day of observation.
Sr. Margaret and I were asked to do a workshop on lesson plans for a rather new school that has new teachers. The majority have graduated from secondary school and with no further training have started not only teaching but running this school. At least they have classrooms and benches. The people of the school built the benches. I’m sending pictures so you can see what kind of a school it is. It is nursery and P1 through 8. They are a brave group to start this venture. They were nice to work with today. They asked at the end what the difference is between a lesson plan and scheme of work! I suggested they talk and decide if they would like another workshop on scheme of work and contact Sr. Margaret.
Our cat, who is young tangled with a crab! They were pretty evenly matched—I think it was a draw in their battle! We had our first very heavy rain last night. We think it is the beginning of the wet season.
This update is a few days early but I wanted to share some very good news. Some of our students who graduated last November and some who are in level four and will finish in June have initiated an ALP program. That is accelerated learning for adults. They had to go through a number of channels to get approval and registered but they have done it! They have enrolled and started teaching 70 students from the age of 15 to 64. They are teaching under the trees at a primary school. The ones who have graduated are teaching in the day and running/teaching in this program after school at 4:30. The ones who are still in school with us go to lessons here until 4:30 and then go and teach there. They just had their formal opening. I have included pictures of the 8 of them and their students. This is quite an undertaking. They are volunteering their time. They also did this whole thing on their own. It’s such a wonderful spirit of wanting to help their people and initiative.
We have finished our first week of pre-service. Most of the students are here but a few more may still come. Some of them struggle to get here because of the roads and lack of transport money. For some of the more remote places there just aren’t many vehicles coming.
We had an assembly in which they were to mix and mingle looking for people they didn’t know to introduce themselves to. There are many new faces from all over South Sudan. All of the classes have gained new members because of those coming from the teacher training college in Malakal which hasn’t reopened because of the destruction and now insecurity. There are one or two pictures where the old ones saw class mates for the first time. That would be a happy reunion!
Other pictures are from the opening Mass. The songs were planned and sung by different groups so we had some of the many languages of STTC represented. It was nice to hear them sing in their own language. Most songs have a lot of repetition so people were joining in even when it wasn’t their language. We have had a good start and pray it continues.
All best wishes for a good week and a happy St. Patrick’s Day for those who become Irish on March 17!
For the most part the students did well on their exams this week. It’s hard for them to just be here for 8 weeks. The majority were leaving to go straight back to teaching. One is going back to live in a refugee camp in Malakal. We hope he can connect with Father Mike who is a Maryknoll priest with Solidarity. He is ministering in the camp.
Two of the members of the leadership team of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Conception came to visit their three Sisters who are here in Yambio. They invited us to a big dinner/reception for them. All the religious in the city were invited plus some of the priests, including the bishop. Also someone from the school where Sr. Helen is teaching was also invited. I think there were about 40 of us. It was a nice evening. Then we had the Sisters come for lunch today. We had a nice time with them. Both Sr. Jeanette and Sr. Veronica have been to Peru to see their Sisters there. In fact Sr. Elena has translated for them many times. What a small world it is to meet someone who knows our Sisters from Piura in South Sudan!
We have this week of not teaching and then start full classes on March 9. It is a short break. We have people coming from all over. Some started our program in Malakal but since it isn’t able to operate they are coming here to finish.