School’s In

Things all went fairly smoothly at school today and I got off lightly.

I knew I didn’t start on Mondays until 9:15, but poled-up soon after 7:30 anyway. Traffic here is particularly bad in the school rush hours, with gazillions of motorcyclists delivering one, two or more pupils to school. In many cases, the whole family is on the one 50cc moped: father – possibly with helmet, mother also perhaps in a helmet, two kids and a baby – all unhelmeted. A favoured formation is small boy at front supporting himself by holding the handlebars, with dad immediately behind in more or less the regulation position, followed by small girl hands round dad’s waist, then mum with baby in her arms. I’m not sure how mum hangs on and the kids will be wearing school bags to add to the complexities.

Anyway, since I have to be in school for 7:30 on Wednesdays, I thought it would be worth getting a timing.

This meant I could go to Assembly, so a mixed blessing, all in all. There were three new teachers and me, so we all took turns to address the assembled school. Then Madam announced that she was going to vary Assemblies from now on and a member of staff would be invited to speak: on came Mr Somebody who stood a bit close to the microphone and popped his way through a Sringlish harangue about not wasting their education as once gone youthful opportunities could never come back. Very laudable if a trifle over-long, but then I only got about one word in five.

As far as I can make out, this is my timetable

  1 2 3 4 Break 5 6 7 8
Mon     P1 Reading 6E2 Essay   6E1 Essay    
Tues   6E2 Grammar       P3 Grammar 6E1 Grammar  
Wed P3 Grammar     KG1 Reading P something Reading P4B???




I only have one 7:30 start and never have a period 8, so the latest I should finish would be 12:55.

I had five year olds for reading. We all sat on the floor: the fifteen or so kids, depute head teacher Ashoka, class teacher and two other ladies I took to be classroom assistants. As time went by, I realised none of the kids could read – not particularly surprising, but the approach was for teacher (me) to read the text word by word so the kids could follow along with their fingers. The story was an extract from an English authoress – I’ve forgotten her name – about a little girl who’s not too enamoured with her new baby brother: the introduction, possibly, to a young children’s novel. It included “lolled” (I lolled), “prod” (I prodded) and “dimples”, which had me stumped as I seemed to be in a dimple-free zone. The general approach to reading seems to be to get kids to recognise the starting-letter shape and build from there. Mind you, I’m hardly an expert after 45 minutes.

6E2 are about 10 years old and seem a likeable bunch. I don’t know who normally teaches them as there was no teacher when I arrived and absolutely no instructions about what they do or how they do it. A 30 second scan of a lassie’s book suggested the idea of making a Scotland / Sri Lanka comparison table on the board which they could then write up as a couple of paragraphs of purple prose. Of course, the problem is so obvious after the event: they knew buggar all about Scotland so I had a lot of explaining to do, and I’d given away my inflatable globe in the previous class (showing “round”) so I didn’t even have that to fall back on. In fact, by the time the table was drawn up, the bell – a real handbell – was going and time was up. Later, I was going to do a modified version of this with 6E1 but hadn’t got further than introductions when it turned out the whole school was going out to the field to watch a netball match. And that was that.

The staff are friendly and all tuck into rice / curry at break. More details as they come to light.

Never having been a great netball fan, I decided to head off: I’m only required to be in school when I’ve got classes – probably a dispensation to me – I didn’t have any other classes coming up either. With time on my hands, I decided to walk into town. I did see a few mad dogs and Englishmen, I must admit. It was hot, dusty, smokey and rather fun; though I’ll take a bottle of water with me next time! I wandered the distance of about 4km slowly, taking about an hour. I rewarded myself with a cheese, tomato and onion sandwich (= panino) which came with salad and a side dish of French Fries, washed down with lashings of ginger beer. This, in the pricey, trendy, shabby-chic of The Fort cost the princely sum of £5. I hired a tuk-tuk back to base and this guy knew the way without ever having to ask.

My room has now got a kettle and microwave. The kettle came with an original 13amp plug, so plugs into my extension sockets, but the microwave plug is too big for the wall socket so totally unusable as it is. I rather doubt the socket is rated for a microwave. I wonder what’s for tea tonight? It’s just as well, as I haven’t bought any food yet. I must find out if you can get teabags here or if the locals look down their noses at them.

They were obviously not expecting to feed me. Round the pool, there’s a sizeable party of locals who booked a birthday party. I asked Quintus if he’d supplied the microwave and then went on to tell him about the socket problem. He seems like a “fixer”, so we’ll see. Tomorrow I’ll need to find a shop that sells microwaveable food: I just don’t see how to charge two mobile phones, a Kindle and laptop, run a fridge and microwave all off one 10amp socket, especially with the various plugs being a mixture of 10, 13 and 15 amp. Even with an extension lead. I wonder if accidentally causing an electrical fire is a crime here?

Anyway, as Quintus would not specify what was available, saying I could have anything, I commented last night’s chicken was good, so chicken it is.

I’ve come downstairs without putting any new photos on the laptop, so this blog won’t count as being multimedia.


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