Alice's First Month

My first month living and teaching in Lesotho has been a truly unique and fulfilling experience. We felt at home from the minute we arrived here, due to the great warmth and generosity extended by this lively community. 


We spent our first two weeks staying in a church hostel and then traditional rondavel in the capital city of Maseru. Here we were able to familiarise ourselves with the surroundings, language  and culture. In addition, we began to prepare resources ready for our school placements in Quthing. 
Our first major assignment was to collect, sort and deliver a shipment of School Aid books. Although this was long and difficult task, it was wonderful to see the range and quality of the generous book donations. After visiting my own school, Moyeni Primary, during the Christmas break and seeing the teachers using their own time to clear and prepare the newly refurbished library, we knew that the books would be gratefully received and treasured for years to come. 
Soon it was time to move to our permanent accommodation in the rural district of Mokalametsong. The views surrounding our new home were breathtaking and the slower pace of life elicited a real sense of tranquility. Shortly after moving in it was time to begin our placements at the local primary schools. My own school was extremely welcoming and staff were excited about my arrival. 
To begin with, I completed a few days of observation and was delighted to see teachers all around the school using so many of the strategies promoted by Dolen, it was clear that the previous Welsh teacher,  Ffion Mullane, had an extremely positive impact on the school and that rather than introducing new methods I would be maintaining and developing the good practice already taking place. After a productive first week we celebrated with a party, inviting all the teachers in the three schools to celebrate with us at our home and enjoy some Welsh food. 
After a fun weekend it was time to get properly stuck into lessons. To achieve the objectives I previously established, I began to assess the phonic knowledge in each class and revised the sounds each grade have already learned, then started to gradually introduce new phonemes. Furthermore, in grades 4 and five I concentrated on sentence building and in grade 6 and 7,and I am beginning to help teachers introduce peer and self assessment into their classrooms. I have also  tried to incorporate active story telling into my grade 1 and 2 lessons and my highlight so far has been seeing grade 2 retell the story of '5 little Ducks' using song and puppets. All my other suggestions have been gratefully received and teachers are very keen to team teach and plan together which will no doubt be the foundation for further success this year.
In addition to supporting the staff at Moyeni, I am also learning a great deal of professional skills myself. Teachers here have helped me understand how to manage large class sizes and be creative with limited resources. Having never taught children below the age of eleven, I am surprised to be relishing the time I spend with grades one and two. In these classes I have learned to adapt the language I use in my lessons and the pace at which I teach, it has also given me the opportunity to use more kinaesthetic and auditory approaches in the classroom. 
So far it has been a challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience, it is wonderful to work with such caring and enthusiastic pupils who really appreciate learning new skills. 


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