I really got to wallow in all this during my year 10 English class. I lobbied the English department near the end of last year while I was spending every waking hour talking about Computer Studies and desperately wanted to teach something else, if only for the variety. Thing may feel different later, but after one day, I’m feeling good about this decision. The computer classes have already feel like old hat, but I think English may allow me to stretch out a little.
After a brief introduction I asked them to write out their name, age, village, and the school they attended last year—I’m teaching 10.4, so I get the kids from last year’s 9.4 and 9.5 plus any new student matriculating in as a year 10. I also asked them to write down their favorite (on the board I wrote “favourite”) English word and their favorite song on the radio.
As the Peer Ministry / Troy Camp / RA handbook dictates, I started the activity by answering the questions about myself. “I’m Matt. I’m from San Francisco. I taught here last year. My favorite English word is…” I trailed off and had to think.
Some kid in the back yelled, “Girlfriend.” I laughed.
Someone else yelled, “Fa’afafine.” I laughed again, but clarified that that’s not English.
In the end, I remembered my word project from Mr. Seaton’s English class and said, “Apropos.” It baffled them, but we moved on.
At first the words they chose were an interesting mix of English words that sound like Samoan words—e.g. banana—and warm, cuddly words—e.g. family. I thought banana was a good choice. It’s a funny word.
For some kids, the English word game quickly devolved into “Name a fruit or vegetable.” A bunch of kids got up and threw out Apple, Pineapple, Taro, and Mango. Others came up with more eclectic stuff. One boy said, “Spartan,” which caught me by surprise. Another said “Billabong,” which I allowed despite its being a proper noun and all.
The bell rang long before everyone in class could go, but the representative sampling was good. More icebreakers soon, everybody.
I hope you’re well. Pictures below.
The complete list in alphabetical order.
My year 12 class finally met today. I count 53 students in this picture, and there are some who are out of the frame. I'm going to have to pare down the class a bit.