Teaching

The school year is now officially half over, I can hardly believe it. I’ve been keeping busy teaching, giving exams, helping with the computer science clubs, and just generally helping people with computer troubles.

I started teaching at a small one room schoolhouse in Bikoka, right across from my old house where I was living before Lolodorf. There are only 23 students and 3 teachers, with no computers unfortunately but I can give theory lessons and last week I brought my laptop for some practical lessons. Its a  pretty different teaching environment than the lycee, for sure.

The computer science clubs at my school and the Lycee Technique are going well, I’ve been teaching students how to install an operating system, how to install programs, and some basic computer maintenance and troubleshooting.

A lot has happened with teaching at my school. My proviseur (principal) sent me to Yaounde to meet up with some local computer experts to buy a few more machines for our computer lab, which is great! We had a total of 15 but have had a few losses along the way and now we are down to 12 (the others are awaiting repairs). My classes average around 60 students so I’m forced to break up the students into two groups when we use the computer lab. One half comes to the lab with me and the other half copies some notes pertaining to the lab and then we switch.

I was in a pretty tight spot for a while when Lolodorf was without power for about six weeks, which got pretty trying on my patience and sanity. I was forced to teach an entire sequence (term) of theory classes, which both I and the students grew very tired of. Luckily the last few weeks have been pretty steady and I have reversed my focus to favour practice, which I feel is much more important and interesting for the students.

Teaching in the classroom can be very frustrating because many of my students have never touched a computer before and trying to explain almost anything goes over their heads fast. With practice you can more accurately measure a students progress and give them real world skills they can use. To continue this focus I gave practical exams in the computer lab this semester, which really helped me see where the kids were at and has the added benefit of instant grading (no slaving over tests for days, hooray).

Aside from teaching, I’ve done some work related travelling to Ebolowa (the capital of the South province) for a regional meeting as well as to Kribi (beach capital of Cameroon) for a teachers meeting and then additional Peace Corps training (my proviseur accompanied me).

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