24 novembre 2014

Transfer time.

               It's transfer time. The server opened yesterday, so I've been busy choosing where I want to go next year. Not that I actually get an awful lot of say in the matter, but I do get a chance to express my wishes, if in vain most of the time. In French education and civil servancy in general, transfers are based on a points system. You get points for staying for chunks of four years in the same school, as they don't like it when you move around too much. You get points for being... [Lire la suite]

17 novembre 2014

Labattoir

                                      The 11th of November was Armistice Day. A bank holiday. I'd been looking forward to sleeping in and having a nice lazy day, knowing I would be playing bridge in the evening and that I had a bit of marking to do. A colleague of mine, however, didn't quite see it that way. He had invited two kids per class to come to the Armistice Ceremony, celebrated on the small island at 8.30, and... [Lire la suite]
13 octobre 2014

The United Gingdom, a guided tour. From the Palace of Wismmister to Wenstre Game.

        I've been working on the British monuments and flags with my kids. The test was at the end of last week, just before the holidays which have just started. The moment of truth, when I get to see what they've remembered from my naturally scintillating lesson.   The British flags have been rebaptized. We now have the Sans Gorge ("no throat" - St George), the Simpatic ("nice" - St Patrick) and the Onion Jack. 10, Downing Street has become 10 Darling Street, 10 Well Street, 10 Dunrens Home or 10,... [Lire la suite]
29 septembre 2014

Urahafu Na Unono

                         On Friday, following various complaints from teachers regarding the dirtiness of the school as a whole and the rooms in particular, one of my colleagues launched "Operation Urahafu Na Unono", or "Operation Cleanliness" in the school. This operation had already been decided upon by the town hall in Mamoudzou as a day when volunteers and schoolchildren would help clean the town, and she wanted our school to participate in its own way. ... [Lire la suite]
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15 septembre 2014

Cats and Miss.

             School's been back for three weeks now. I've met all my classes, and there's everything from sweetness and light to ear-splitting caterwauling in there. These are some photos of my school. Right at the top is the tropical almond (Terminalia Catappa, if you're interested) tree. Everything happens under that tree. That's where the kids line up to be taken to their next lesson, that's where they go when the fire alarm rings, and that's where the parent-teacher meetings begin... [Lire la suite]
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08 septembre 2014

The beginning of the end: my last back-to-school rush in Mayotte.

            School started again on August 25th. In Mayotte, the teaching profession has one of the highest turnovers I've ever seen. This year, only three new colleagues joined the English-teaching ranks in my school. Two had been teaching in various lycées before this year, and were still recoiling from the shock of collège. The kids are small... energetic... very noisy... don't understand this... aren't mature enough for that... and the new colleagues weren't quite sure what to make of them. The... [Lire la suite]

16 juin 2014

Music

            I've been playing quite a bit of music recently.                  On May 31st, I was roped in to play "film music", which was a new one for me. Mostly cartoon themes such as Some Day My Prince Will Come, Popeye or The Bare Necessities, but the odd tune from films such as The Sting or Black Cat White Cat. The idea was to videoproject extracts from films and cartoons, and play the theme tunes live at the same time. This required quite a... [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]
23 décembre 2013

Going Swimming At School

         The rainy season in in full flow now. This is a short video taken by one of my colleagues at school, a day when 9.2mm of rain fell in two hours accompanied by a pounding thunderstorm that made the headmistress decide to cut off the school's electricity because it was getting too dangerous. There are a lot of electric sockets very close to the ground, and most of our electrical wiring isn't protected by anything. As soon as it started raining, the kids ran screaming and shouting into the nearest... [Lire la suite]
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