My first attempt to teach

June 17, 2014

The big question before I even commenced my adventure was: how would I manage to teach a classroom of fourty kids, since I was completely irrelevant? I had neither previous education nor experience in this field. I was squizzing my mind to remember what activities we were engaging to when we were at the age of 5. A blury memory of this time includes a song of a dinosaur and some art craft.

I presumed that the stationary would be inadequate at school. Thus I visited a big store in Athens, where you can find pretty much everything, from balls to frying pans. The abundant colourfull toys in the shelves enticed me and I wished to transfer the whole of the store in Ghana. My sister put me back together. We agreed that I should purchase things that would easily fit in my luggage and be apropriate for teaching children aged 2-6. The outcome was: colour pencils, bubbles, pumped up animals, spins, books of stickers, drawing books, puppets, small cars, cards with animals and veggies.

After the trial period of three days, I had collected enough information for the school system, the difficulties and the specifities. The time to take action had come. I requested some teaching time from the teacher, who offered it to me eagerly. At first, I selected the puppets, because they had caught the attention of my little students, who asked me persistently what they are and whether they are allowed to play with them. I answered that they actually belong to the teaching material and we would soon all play with them.

The puppets were 5. Three pigs , a wolf and a red riding hood. Two different fairytales could be narrated with their contribution: “the three little pigs” and “the red riding hood”. I took a minute to recall the stories properly. I felt more confident about “the three little pigs”. So I started from this one. The children were abnormaly quiet. They were all expecting to listen to the new story accompanied with the new clean puppets. In order to refresh your memory, the story goes as follows: The three little pig brothers had to part with their parental house, because they had grown old. The oldest builds a house of straws in one day, as he was idle. The second born built a house out of wood in a week and joined the first in playing. While the youngest one buckled down and built a strong house of bricks in one month under the teasing and laughter of his older brothers. To cut a long story short, the wolf blows the house of the first pig and burns the wooden house of the second. The two brothers seek shelter in the habitat of the youngest pig, which at the end proved to be the wisest of all , as his stable and firm structure assured their survival from the menace of the wolf.

When I was halfway the story, I felt that my students were not following me. I was describing the residences of straw and wood as insecure and inapropriate and instead of disapproval for the oldest pigs i could only discern confusion in their cute black eyes. And then it dawned on me. The houses of the story might seem much more luxurious and safe than their own. Some houses in the community were even a wonder to stand still and not collapse. Through the trotro window I had seen houses, which were leaning and had no doors or windows. Small ones were shared by big families and the furniture were little and old. My shame was undescriable. I rushed to finish the fairy tale and decided to fathom the reality of the kids standing before me. One thing was for sure: the western stories were incomprehensible and useless. Therefore, my new task was to search for traditional ghanian tales, that would “speak” genuinely to my students.

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