11 juillet 2015

Kwahéri Maoré

          When I arrived at my Mahorese school, I met several teachers who were in their last year in Mayotte. And universally, they told me that when you're in your last year, you're already at your destination in your mind. One, named Henri Denglades, was going back to his native French Guyana at the end of that school year. From September until the end of the year, he was mentally already there, thinking about how he would see his family again and reclaim his house. Every month of his last school year,... [Lire la suite]
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25 juin 2015

First Moon of Ramadan

  Seen from Mayotte, the moon looks like a smile.                      This is the first moon of Ramadan this year. Ramadan, or a period of roughly one month when Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, but gorge themselves on fried food and sugary treats at nightfall, comes a fortnight earlier each year, so you can predict its arrival to within a day or three. However, as with all important Muslim calendar days, the actual beginning of Ramadan depends on... [Lire la suite]
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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]
25 mai 2015

Salouvas for All

    Clockwise from top left: Samianti, Nisma, me, Nadhrati, Moinécha, Moinécha's boyfriend Matthias (who ended up in the photo for some reason), Hoby, Chaharazadi, Djaha, Nabaouya, Laïla and Nassifanya. And the odd unrecognizable fuzzy student.                    My kids have been lovely recently. Some of them, anyway. It started off with Fatima, who gave me an envelope at the start of one lesson, saying that I absolutely must wait until I got home to open it. Inside... [Lire la suite]
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13 avril 2015

Versailles and Vienna

                You might vaguely remember these posters. The music school organized a concert at the beginning of February whose theme was "the Royal Celebrations of Versailles". It was such a success - the first classical concert of the year, so 250 people came - that the university centre in Mayotte bought the concert too. We repeated the concert in the university amphitheatre at the end of last month. I don't think I've ever made so big a mess of a concert, and I wasn't the only one.... [Lire la suite]
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06 avril 2015

Stop Hitting the Teachers.

                 Recently, things have been heating up at school. We've always had stories of kids threatening teachers: a common threat here is something along the lines of "I'll kill you and your family", and that happens pretty often, especially when a kid has received an exceptionally bad mark or has perceived something as extremely unfair. Various teachers have been called names, or had their car tyres deflated, or a car window broken. A month or two ago, a sports teacher was... [Lire la suite]

30 mars 2015

Dictionaries in an English lesson.

                This is what happened when I asked some of the girls in my class to give out the dictionaries. They walked all round the classroom with a couple of dictionaries on their heads, handed the dictionaries out to the other students, went back to the cupboard and put another couple of dictionaries on their heads, then started again. Keeps your hands free, you see.            
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16 février 2015

What do you want to be when you're older? Dunno, miss...

             Saturday was Job Forum day at school. Some well-intentioned and better-organized-than-the-others teachers had been collecting people for a few months now, people who came from different job horizons and who had agreed to come to our school and talk about their job to the students. Cue huge organization. The visitors had been attributed rooms, teachers were standing guard in each room and corridor, supervisors were going round with walkie-talkies, and each class had two... [Lire la suite]
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15 décembre 2014

The teacher is in the hammock.

             A colleague used to draw these cartoons about Mahorese women, known as bouénis. This is one he drew for me, turning the bouénis into English teachers... hard at work!         
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08 décembre 2014

Rain at School

                           It's been raining quite a bit recently. This is the effect of all this rain on my school: quite impressive, actually. Everything and everyone gets soaked five minutes in, the kids go swimming in the puddles, bags and books included, and you can't hear a thing because of the water pounding down on the corrugated iron roof. Even falling on concrete, rain is very noisy stuff, and when there's that much of it, you truly and... [Lire la suite]
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