I just thought I’d do a quick update. So it’ the end of the week, and it’s been a productive week, I’d say. Aside from yesterday’s cancellation of the last two periods, a lot was accomplished.
Yesterday after interval (our break after third period), the principal decided that we needed to cancel classes for “counseling.” So we broke off into groups…the boys with the male teachers in one room, and the girls with the female teachers. The two main topics that had to be discussed with the boys were a small fight that had broken out between two villages (Sili and Gatavai) and a haircut issue. There was a fight between about ten students a couple of weeks ago. There was a lot of physical punishing of the kids before they were suspended for a week. This week there was a smaller quarrel, and it turns out that they decided to suspend a student from Year 12, in fact, one of my better students. Then there’s the haircut issue. The higher authorities at the school have a problem with students gelling their hair up in a fauxhawk. They said that it was breaking the uniform code. I do not see what the big fuss is. These fauxhawks are maybe a three-quarters of an inch high max. Well anyways, the vice principal and another teacher went around and snipped off more than half the boys’ fauxhawks and any other hair-do’s they did not like.
On another note, I've been getting some good news from the other faculty members in regards to my computer lab. They are adamant about getting my lab in good shape. Meaning that they're really keen on getting me fans and cleaning up the lab. Many of the teachers have expressed their disappointment about the school committee. They are here every morning and they just sit around drink ava and disturb classes. One day the principal told them that get away from the windows because they were disturbing class. So they went between two buildings, sat on rocks, and continued their "meeting." The vice principal on a separate occasion approached me and said that we would have already had a "dress-down" day, in which students give money and are allowed to dress out of uniform. He said that he would talk to the principal to enact this next Friday, so we'll see what happens.
The principal has also approached me about painting the tables. So on Tuesday, he and I went into the "Design Technology" room (a class that is not given their year), and tapped into their supplies. We got wood stainer, and I have so far stained half the tables a "Cherry" color.
I have also been talking to the women's committee in my village. I had offered them help in computers weeks ago, after they told me that they had computers. Weeks passed until anyone followed up. Yesterday, I was told to go to Tausaga's house (the lady who lives in front of me). I went their, and her son, Oti, took me to the women's committee house. To my surprise, they had five very nice computers with internet, networked, 80-gig hard-drives, air conditioning, nice speakers, a photocopier, and a printer/fax/scanner/photo copier, an all-in-one thing. It was very impressive. So I had my first computer class with the women's committee yesterday. There were five women and three kids. Today they'll be discussing extending the class to the community, not restricting it to only females, but opening it to everyone. I believe they said they wanted to charge a tala a person a class. So it'll be a good way for the committee to make a bit of money. After class I walked back with my neighbors and had fish, taro, and koko samoa for dinner at their place.
I'm going to be heading into Apia in a couple of hours. I have been sick. Since Monday, I have taught every single period because loads of teachers have been sick and absent because of meetings. So I have covered many classes from Math to English to Science, in which we are told to teach and review topics referring to students' notes. The vice principal joked around about me having to cover a Samoan class. Imagine me teaching Samoan to Samoans. Anyways, on Monday I started to lose my voice, and every day it just got worse and worse. So I've already exhausted my meds after having a sore throat after New Years', so I figure I could go see our medical doctor. But also it's an excuse to go to Joey's St. Patty's Day party, and also there are at least three PCVs who are turning or who have turned 27 this week. That calls for some celebration, eh?
This is a my computer lab. And the table is stained. Only got to do half the class. That on the left is a pile of my bad computers and computer parts.
Every morning I get up at 6 (believe it or not) to open the gate. The kids don't actually get there till after 6:30/6:45, but I don't want to see them in the morning (shirtless and half asleep).