08 juin 2015

Protests in the Classroom

             Recently, just for the fun of it, I thought I'd get my kids riled up about something. So I started a nice, light and cheery series of lessons about world problems: racism, discrimination, poverty, starvation, the environment, war, deforestation, animal cruelty, you name it, we talked about it. After a brief spate of "this isn't our problem, why are we doing this, miss?", they got really into the subject and started coming up with interesting ideas. I taught them a few expressions... [Lire la suite]

02 juin 2014

Wenka

           I'm currently writing a lesson plan on graffiti and street art, the idea being to teach the kids what the point of each is and how to tell the difference. As there are a lot of tags here, I wanted to start off with pictures of graffiti around their home village in the hopes that they would recognize some of it and be able to find the rest pretty easily. What started off as a short trip down the main road turned into a two-hour photo safari throughout the village, with cries of "Miss... [Lire la suite]
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26 mai 2014

Kids

         Adults in Mayotte don't really like the camera lens. There is a belief that being photographed removes a part of your soul, but it's usually closer to not liking white tourists taking photos of "locals" doing "local things". Which is fair enough and perfectly understandable. Most people probably wouldn't like a foreigner pointing a camera at them while they're just going about their business as usual. However, the kids love the camera. They'll play up to it, smile, group together and make signs... [Lire la suite]
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14 avril 2014

Majicavo

The village I live in is called Majicavo. Literally, it means "where there is no water". Like all Mahorese villages, it's a very poor place, but near enough to the capital (Mamoudzou) for people to want to be modern and Westernized. Also like all Mahorese villages, it has a lot of shops, known as doukas, and small local restaurants, called brochetti or brochetterie because they sell mainly chicken wings and kebabs of meat or fish. They have names such as "Welcome Mayotte", "Mastéréhi" ("Enjoy your meal and be at rest"),... [Lire la suite]
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10 mars 2014

The rain in Mamoudzou falls down, soaks the road and makes big potholes.

            We're slowly getting towards the end of the rainy season. It's been raining pretty much every day, but not all day though, just an hour or two at a time. The rain has - as usual - dug gaping holes in the roads, it's a right mess. Some of the roads I take every day have now reached the state where you can't actually drive on them any more. You swerve all over the place, as you physically cannot drive in a straight line on these roads, and you play bumper cars too, because when one... [Lire la suite]
27 janvier 2014

Cyclone Alert

           Last week, we had a cyclone exercise at school. Much more interesting than your average fire drill, where everyone just lines up under the big tree in the playground, and not as awkward as the earthquake simulation, where they all have to fit under the (rather on the small side) tables. In this cyclone exercise, we have to fit all the kids into the five or six largest rooms in the school and confine them there for however long it takes for the cyclone to get out of the way and let us carry... [Lire la suite]
24 juin 2013

Dramatic

       For the last six months, three colleagues and I have been doing a drama workshop with the kids at school. I filed it as a "school project" at the end of last year, so the Vice-Rectorate (high education authority) gave the school a grant of seven hundred euros to "promote culture in schools". Only one rule: the theme was to be "Culture and History of Mayotte". We therefore asked the kids to produce scenes of their own invention, as they were necessarily going to act scenes of their everyday life, which is... [Lire la suite]
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14 février 2013

Hot Blushes

            I started drama lessons with the kids this afternoon. The first task was an improvisation sketch in small groups: you have just received an anonymous Valentine's card. How do you react? One girl beckoned me over and said: "Miss, I can't do this." "Why not?" "Because I'm black." "What does that have to do with anything?" "Well, miss, I want to blush and I can't!"              
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08 octobre 2012

Let the Teacher do the Work

                  Recently, I've been taking my kids into the computer room. For a start, there are 15 computers, 4 of which don't work but which all the kids absolutely want to try anyway, "I'm sure I can make it work, Miss". Of course, they can't, so we all get frustrated.        Instruction n°1 : Switch the PC on. "Miss, what's a PC?" "A computer." "Miss, I haven't got a username or password, last year's don't work." "That's OK, use the ones on the board." ... [Lire la suite]
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