Teaching is an actual workout under these conditions. The room was built as a music hall, not a classroom. It is hot in there as I teach, but I can see many ways in which I feel prepared for this. I sometimes teach 70 students at once in the states – 173 is not completely different from that number. (Plus, most of the students passed the first quiz!) I grew up in Florida and can tolerate the African heat just fine. I don’t know French, but I know enough Latin that I can compare French and English and see how they lines up.
One preparation that’s working particularly well is that I bought a small, bright, battery-powered LED projector. On this, I project French text to go along with the English text and pictures on the bigger but electric-powered projector. I like to point to the pictures and words as it is, so this gives me another set of “targets” in the French words that I can point to. I think I’m learning to speak slowly and clearly so the students can understand my English as they read the French. (About 10% of the class is stronger in English, but most are stronger in French.)
When I was talking to the rector of the school, he mentioned that students are culturally conditioned to listen. I notice that they do not move as much as American students, and don’t give the same type of non-verbal feedback. I’m looking for the ways I can pick up from them, but they are good at focusing on the class and are not expecting me to entertain them (which is a good thing, because entertaining another culture isn’t one of my gifts!).
This is harder than I thought it would be, and a bigger job than I thought it would be, but I have to trust that I have been prepared for such a time as this, and that I can give the students the specialized knowledge they need to graduate as doctors. Please pray for me as I work these things out.
Thanks so much for sharing this, it is fascinating. I have prayed and will continue to pray for you. I look forward to the next piece of news.
Your exploits are highly entertaining! Some may suspect that doing missionary work (I guess what you are doing isn't exactly missionary work-but close) is somehow romantic but you are giving us a realistic dose of reality.
You sound very energized and regarding your ability to entertain.. well you could break into song if things get too stale. I happen to know you have a vibrant bass voice.
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