Maths Teaching

A quiet day today, I think.

I had IT with year 1, along with several power cuts. Simple word processing – I had typed up the exercise they did yesterday for Aunty Cole (about a donkey who dresses up as a tiger) and we spent time cutting and pasting the sentences in the right order. Plenty of practice as the power cut out several times. We also looked at bullet points and keyboard shortcuts: generally speaking, the students seem to listen and learn. There is a range of abilities, but most seem keen to have the opportunity.

I should have been finished at 11:30 but Mr Sanyang – Maths teacher – reminded me I had agreed to go into his class. There were 58 nineteen year-old Home Science students (56 of them female) and quite a handful. I pointed out to him I wasn’t a Maths teacher and politely said I had no intention of “taking the class” as he hoped, but I sat in and took part. Lowest Common Multiples, and Highest Common Factors, the difference between Product and Sum. Not terribly inspiring and perhaps it could have been taught better, but I’m no expert. I chipped in a few examples, made up a brain-teaser and was glad when it was lunchtime (tapalapa “sandwich” filled with hot dogs, salad and compulsory tomato ketchup).

Gambians love sweet drinks – I get Coke / Fanta / Vimto (remember that?) with lunch and dinner. I was guiltily putting a second sugar cube in my morning coffee when the gardener / caretaker chap made himself a cup of what they laughingly call tea and added eight sugar cubes! I counted them because I thought he was going to stop at five, but it was just that his hand was full. Last year I took home some Wonjo flowers to make the popular Gambian drink of wonjo juice: the recipe involves a few handfuls of flowers, a few glasses of water, a couple of drops of banana essence, some mint and three tons of sugar.

Ousinou Sarr was as good as his word and provided me with costings for Tosh, which I sent off and which Tosh acknowledged, so that’s another thing off my “to do” list.

I’ve been let off doing any marking for Aunty (who gave me a packet of biscuits this morning!), but I’m going to spend the afternoon dreaming up some exercises using rulers in Word, so I won’t be completely idle. Saikou, who reckons he’s suffering from food-poisoning after eating an egg yesterday, says he’ll help set up the digital projector on his laptop, both of which I brought out with me. Let’s hope there’s power, Inshallah.

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