Friday, September 7, 2007

Grade 7 Maths Problems

School started this week for the third and last term, which means that the After School Program also started. The number of kids was lower (about 30 instead of 60), but that’s normal for the first couple of weeks of term at least.
{At the After School Program a group of volunteers from our church and the community help kids who live in the area with their homework and revision, and then we have games and activities (such as sports, craft and Bible Club) for them. It runs on Mondays to Thursdays from 2pm until 5pm. Kauna, one of the young ladies from the church, directs the Program.}

I spent each day helping Kuzatjike, one of the Grade 7 boys, with his maths homework – multiplying and dividing decimals, and converting fractions to decimals and vice versa. Every day was the same: we’d sit down and I’d ask him how to start working on the problems, and he’d have absolutely no idea! Now I don’t know if that’s because he doesn’t listen in class or the teacher just doesn’t explain what to do. The class sizes are at least 40 kids and that sure doesn’t make for optimal teaching conditions. An added complication is that the schools mostly don’t allow the kids to take their textbooks home and so if they don’t know how to do the homework, there’s nothing they can refer to. It also makes it a bit difficult for us at the Program, because if they don’t have similar problems they’ve already done in their homework books, we’re not sure how the teacher wants them to do the working out and so on.

Despite not knowing what to do, Kuzatjike paid attention when I explained the working out to him and was able to do the sums with only a bit of help from me. However, a big problem is that he hardly knows his times tables and even finds dividing easier than multiplying! Weird.

Kuzatjike’s mother came on Thursday to show us his report from last term – he failed Maths, English and Social Studies and almost all his marks were worse in Term 2 than Term 1. He did okay in Science, which most kids here wrestle with, and admitted that he likes Science a lot more than Maths. His mother really wants to help him but she works as a hairdresser and sometimes doesn’t get home until 9pm.

After talking with her, I did up an extra homework sheet of maths problems, similar to the ones he’d done all week, for Kuzatjike to do over Friday and the weekend. Kauna’s idea is to start a reading program for some of the kids who are really struggling with English – something they can take home to work on in the evenings, as well as getting help at the Program. I’ll keep you posted as to how that all works!

On the Home Front: Time changes & sleepyheads
I don’t know who came up with the brilliant idea of always having winter time finish (and thus having the clocks move one hour forward) the same week that school starts for Term 3. Samara has to be at pre-school at 8am and I’ve had to wake her up at 7am when she’s still been fast asleep. I don’t know how the primary and high school kids, who have to be at school at 7am, are managing! Hey, even I’m finding it hard to adjust and have had a few unscheduled sleep-ins…

Added to that, Windhoek residents were warned on Monday to use water sparingly as NamWater had had a fire which took out one of their water pumps. We were all prepared for water rationing and similar drastic measures, but the water was never off, and things were back to normal by Wednesday, instead of Friday as they had announced. However, they also reminded us that dam levels are quite low and if we don’t get a good rainy season (should start raining next month), then we’re looking at some shortages.

AND the airconditioner at the gym was off all week, due to repairs being carried out. For some reason this also affects the hot water, so after working up a good sweat exercising (maximum temperatures here are already up around 30°C), we have the bonus of cold showers! Rachel and I WERE sweating when we finished four games of squash yesterday and, yes, she walloped me in each one. I do have an excuse (having had flu quite badly last week) – but then again, her walloping me is quite a regular occurrence. Oh well, I really enjoy playing and that’s what matters, hey.

Lastly, Jimmy and I actually managed to go to the movies last night and saw ‘Rush Hour 3’. He enjoyed it, I thought the first two were much better. And the fight scenes on the Eiffel Tower just made me dizzy!

1 comment:

benedictkay said...

So cool to see you on the web J! V