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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Big Changes -and a day in Grade 1

Hello everyone,

Big news from the past few weeks:

Principal/priest/monk Br. Rob (a man of many hats) has been named Director of Formation for the entire monastic order. This means he will be moving back to West Park, NY come May. Everyone is excited about this development, albeit with a degree of sadness about seeing him leave South Africa. Rob first stepped foot in Grahamstown in 2004 and has provided counseling, stability, and stress-relieving comedy ever since.

Holy Cross School will be searching for a new principal, mostly likely someone who is native to South Africa and well-versed in education. The new principal is yet another way Holy Cross continues to evolve.

Br. Rob and I have already had numerous talks about the impending ‘new look’ of the school -new principal, continual growth of school staff, etc- and it is something to be excited about. I look forward to seeing it develop.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, though :) Here is what happened this week:

Ash Wednesday
Principal/priest/monk extraordinaire Brother Rob (again, man of many hats) and monk/religion teacher/Xhosa-speaker extraordinaire Brother Josias (also lots of hats) organized a short midday service for students and staff.

Students were quite solemn and respectful.

Earlier that day, students from St. Andrew’s Preparatory School visited Holy Cross as part of their student-led outreach committee. Their presence was an instant hit :)

On to the next chapter of this post: A Day in Grade 1.

Our beginning classtime has been spent reviewing shapes, colors, and counting. Like most classes, this is a chance for me to practice my xhosa skills along with the students.
This class transitions to snacktime and playtime, where teachers take turns supervising outdoors.


After playtime is English class. Truth be told, our students were fairly advanced for their age before the year even began :)
I typically start this class by reviewing the day and month, and then proceed to a lesson.
“What day is it?” -Using our bulletin as an aid.

Identifying clothing
Taking an idea from Stephen Smith, I’ve also implemented ‘story time’ where students repeat each line after I say it. Both myself and the students have enjoyed it.

This leads to Xhosa Class.
Every day or so, we ‘introduce’ a new letter and make sure students learn correct spelling and pronunciation. To practice, students will write and say “lala”, “sasa”, and other basic letter combinations.
I’ve found myself thinking of “salsa” during this time. Ah, Mexican food…

Time permitting, we end with a story, and then leave. 

I’m a backup driver for one of our afternoon bus routes -and by ‘bus’, I mean ‘whatever vehicle is available’.
On Friday, with Principal/priest/monk/driver extraordinaire Brother Rob (another hat) busy in town, I was called up for duty.
I kidd you not, these children were ecstatic when I set up the 3rd row of seats. They also requested a CD which turned out to be Mozart. Imagine a car of children, happily buckled up, listening to classical music, and you have my Friday afternoon. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Congratulations! You have finished a day of grade 1. It changes each day -Religious Studies on Tuesdays, Art on Wednesdays, etc- and there’s quite a bit of flexibility in our teaching (such as extending a classtime when students seem engaged). The rest of my workday consists of the after-school clinic Tuesdays through Thursdays. Come Friday 2pm, I’m off for a weekend of R & R :)

I hope you enjoyed this insight!

1 comment:

  1. This is great, Cameron. More and more pieces of your world fall into place.