Thursday, May 5, 2011


Today, during a lesson on the present continuous tense, I had drawn cartoons on the board and asked the students to write sentences describing what was happening in the pictures. I am no Da Vinci, but the cartoon stick figure very clearly had a jug of water on its head. Carting water here is not just a huge part of life, it’s an inherent part of life, as much as eating dinner or going to school—it’s something everyone does. One boy raised his hand and said “teacher, I don’t understand what’s happening in that picture.” “Seriously?” I asked him. We talking through it: he is carrying something…what’s inside the thing he’s carrying…it looks like a liquid, what liquid might he be carrying. “Ahhh!” the kid finally got it. Let me correct myself—carting water is a huge and inherent part of women’s lives here.
Pencil sharpeners are fairly expensive here, so a lot of kids will use these little razor blades to sharpen their pencils. And especially since my students are older this year, occasionally one will pull out a 6” switch blade to sharpen their pencil. There was a time that would have been weird or highly illegal.

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