~~It’s hard to think that tomorrow is already April! March definitely flew by just as this week did. This week was slightly different than the rest because I had a few trips into East London.
Amy and I continued to team teach the boys which has continued to go very well. We have been trying different methods of approaching their individual needs and discovering which work best and which need to be revised. It is difficult because boys are polar opposites and when we have tried to individualize the activities they quickly become upset because the classroom is not “fair.” This was my last full week of teaching and I am now working on school reports and write-ups for the boys. This is a challenge in itself because the special education component of our class detours away from the traditional South African evaluation technique of rating the learner from 1-7 in different criteria. For my boys, I am just simply writing paragraphs discussing their strengths and weaknesses along with each of the challenges that must be addressed with them. We are still not sure who will be taking over for me once I go, so for now I am also writing up a detailed classroom schedule, ways to approach discipline and reward, and activity ideas to help address each of the gross and fine motor weaknesses they have. It is quite the load of material, however, this week we are on holiday so I have a little extra time to get it all done.
On Tuesday, I went in to East London with Rita, Mark, and Amy to visit Breath of Life Adoption Center where we were able to see how a different children’s home operates. I always love seeing how different facilities run to help compare and contrast their methods to Open Arms’. Breath of Life is only for babies and currently has just six in their care. They call themselves a safety house rather than a home because their goal is for each child to be adopted prior to their second birthday. Breath of Life only has one room and is extremely detailed and cautious with the care of each baby. They have several daily logs for medicine, food intake, nappie (diaper) changes, and sleeping hours. They use only Rooibos based soap and oil which has several health benefits from its natural, organic supplements. It was quite interesting to see how easily the center was designed and how calm each of the babies and caretaker were. We took several notes as we plan to redo the entire baby room in the near future at Open Arms and will most likely be partnering with Breath of Life for ideas and equipment.
My second trip into East London was on Friday to do a home stay with Jeanien’s friend for the weekend. I stayed with a girl my age named Anri and immediately we clicked! I was hesitant about the situation at first and nervous it would be uncomfortable and awkward, but my stay was the opposite. It was great to spend time with someone my age and experience a lifestyle much different than the one I am used to in South Africa. Anri goes to an Afrikaans school rather than an English school so English is her second language. We went out for waffles and Rooibos tea with some of her school friends at Hemmingway’s mall and it was so interesting to learn more about their lives, school, and culture. We then came back and just spent hours talking and learning more about each other. I wish we could have spent more time together and we are trying to arrange so I could come to her school next Monday with her; however with such a limited amount of time, transitioning in the new teacher, and being an hour away it makes it difficult, but I really hope I get the chance!
I am looking forward to this week very much not only because it is my last full week, but also with all the kids on holiday we have lots of fun field trips planned. I still have a lot of work to do to help the person who will be taking over my roles at Open Arms, but regardless of how busy it gets I will most certainly find plenty of time to just have some fun with the kids. We had a campfire this weekend and just sat looking up at the stars, and I can’t wait to have more fun nights like that.