(written on April 30)

I got to do something that I have been hoping to do since I arrived in Haiti several weeks ago – Luckner got me into a high school classroom. I thought I was going as a guest to observe and maybe help a little (it was his grade 10 English class), but instead I was handed a piece of chalk, introduced to the students, and then Luckner left for the hour. It was a little different from my grade 10 classes at home, to say the least. I thought I had a teacher voice that I use in my own classroom, but here the classrooms have concrete walls and windows are just openings to the outside. I had to talk over some pretty crazy noise of students all around outside the classroom. I asked them questions and they asked me questions. Some of the students knew lots of English and were really curious about my Canadian life and school. Others gave me the same blank look that I give Haitians who extend their conversation in Creole with me beyond the obvious pleasantries.

high school students on a break between classes

 

jr and sr high school wing

 

kids at the water fountain

 

 

school entrance

I had a great hour with them! They asked me about my school and they explained to me about their planned but cancelled presidential election. We discussed tap-taps and motos (very cool forms of transportation here), and I explained city buses and taxis at home.

Grade 10 with Nicki

There are a lot of differences between school here and school at home. We have air conditioning in our Halifax school but not here (that does NOT make sense!). Here they lack the technology we have at home (although a few kids had their cell phones out), they had no cool posters on their walls, and the list could go on.

Grade 10 with Nicki

It was interesting to see education from the perspective of a minority. It is difficult trying to figure out the language. It’s difficult not fully understanding context or the culture from which someone speaks. I found myself not knowing what questions to ask them…do I ask where they live (what if they don’t have a house)? Do I ask what their parents do for work (what if they are orphans or their parents are unemployed)? Do I ask what they want to do for work when they are done school (what if their options are limited by their circumstances)? But then we found some common ground…what sports do you like to play? Do you like to swim? What kind of cell phone do you have? Have you been to Port au Prince?

Trying to get conversation started

I can’t wait to spend more time at the IMKH – Institution Mixte Karen Huxter next door. I am going to “help out” in a few more classes. For those of you who are sponsoring children so that they can attend school, I want to thank you for them. Some of them talked about their future plans…plans that would not be possible if they couldn’t come to school. The kids were awesome! I learned a lot from them today…I hope I also helped them with their English lessons!

~Nicki