When the teacher enters the classroom in Mozambique all the students stand up and in unison say “good morning teacher.” The teacher says “good morning, how are you?” The class says “we are fine, and you?” Two of my classes yell this so loudly that it rings off the cement walls of the room and hurts my ears, but makes me laugh nonetheless. Today my students had homework from yesterday, so when I entered each class I wrote the problems on the board, and then turned around and randomly chose students to stand and give their answer. This is what happened in two of the classes. In the other two, the minute I turned around about half the kids jumped out of their seats and started running to the front of the room. Other than the fact that I might be trampled to death by a twenty 14 year olds, it was a wonderful feeling. And in these same two classes whenever someone is taking too long to respond to a question, all the other kids start jumping out of their seats, waving their arms in the air, yelling “Stor!” (Stor is the shortened version of professor).
The bell at our school is not automated, but a boy in the secretary’s office has to ring it manually. And I know that if I had to remember to do something every 45 minutes I would be awful at it, but it really drives me nuts because you have to plan about 5-10 minutes of flexibility into your lesson plans. Yesterday the bell to begin one of my classes rang 9 minutes late which is a HUGE chunk of time when you only have 45 with them. And trying to round up 45 students from a courtyard of about 600 students is just futile.
The Spanish volunteer at the mission is named Natalia, and the girls can’t keep our names straight for the lives of them. So some of them have just started to say “mana Anatalia” to cover both all bases.