Zimbabwe: teaching and netball coaching

(Wednesday) Today, I had to get up earlier than the others as I was teaching a class at 7.30. I have been in front of a class since breaking up for the summer holiday. I didn’t feel as nervous as I thought I would, I felt pretty relaxed (God was definitely with me and gave me peace). I was teaching matrices to form 3 (year 10) ‘O’ level class. I had not learnt this myself however it was extremely easy to pick up. The lesson went well: recapping what they did in a previous lesson, teaching and give examples then getting them to answer some question. Successful lesson. I did find it difficult to write on the board with chalk, therefore it kept snapping and flying everywhere.

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After breakfast, we went over to the hall for our devotions session, which was on Peace. During our devotions, our team plus the staff plus those who are taking part in the course, all sit around a table, while a member of the UK team share their thoughts about the fruit of the spirit. The Zimbabweans love to sing so there is a lot of singing involved in everything we do including the morning devotions.

Literally as we were ending, on if the teachers grabbed me to teacher class. It was an English lesson in Form 3 (Year 10). “Teaching anything you like.” That was so broad and asked her to give me some options. I decided to go for direct and indirect speech, which I have taught many times at school. However, I managed to get through it a lot quicker than in a primary school. I taught the basic about the punctuation of direct speech, the differences and how to change from one to the other.

After a break, I went back to the health course to teach cholera to the ladies in the course, where I learnt a lot myself. In the room, there were two groups with a translator for each group.

I was then pulled to teach another lesson in the school: Maths to form 1 (Year 8). As you may have noticed, there has not been any planning, just dropped into the deep end. As I entered the class room, the teacher explains that I will be teaching Algebraic Equations. I’ve not done those in a while but I quickly picked it up. The class were quite unresponsive, and would not volunteer to work out an answer on the board. What was hard was that the children were all different abilities and it is difficult to differentiate with the lack of resources. Unless I wanted to write up loads of questions on the blackboard. The teacher was just sitting back on his chair at the back of the classroom. Not sure if he was observing me or doing something different but he wasn’t helping the class.

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Since teaching in Zimbabwe with teachers observing me, I have not felt nervous once as I feel more relaxed and feel that the teacher would not judge me.

When classes were finished, I hung out in the staff room, which was a wooden shed, with the other teachers learning about the culture as well as them learning about England.

Once lunch had finished, I met the teacher who coaches netball and the two school teams (Senior and Junior), who were changing into their smart, matching netball kit. We strolled over to the netball court, where I coached them for this session: going through passes, defending and finally playing matches against each other. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these children. They played amazing considering that they have only started this year and the netball teacher only learnt the rules this year. The whole team played bare foot on a concrete playground: not my choice. I umpired the game but they were extremely honest and knew if they broke the rules.

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After a couple of hours playing in the sun, we dismissed the students and headed back to the training centre. I was chatting to a guy called Simba, who was explaining things to me about what he wanted to do but it was very futuristic and I got confused about how it would work. I have realised that Zimbabweans like to talk a lot.

Then I had a bit of a rest before dinner and starting the bible course in the evening, which was about being people to God: reaping and sowing.

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