Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Testing, Ava, and a Little Trip

Monday morning we did not catch a ride to school. Seemed like a rather slow day on the road, and not a single person that has picked us up before came by in the 10-15 minutes we waited. So, we ended up grabbing a Tafuna bus. We could have walked, but the new way we do breakfast, it's best to be there before 7:30am to pick it up from the kitchen.

I went over some test taking tips with my classes for the day in preparation for the next three mornings of standardized testing. Sure, many weren't really paying attention, but at least I threw it out there for those who may have taken heed and used it to their advantage. Also had a nice cup of raspberry sherbert after lunch. Every so often there are some students selling ice cream outside one of the business classes. Something cold and soothing sounded good, and it turned out they had sherbert. I gave it a shot, and I rather enjoyed it. It hit the spot for sure, and I enjoyed every scoop with my spoon nice and slowly.

Had a staff meeting after school as to be expected, as we needed to get the final schedule for the SAT 10 (standardized test) and any administering instructions. So, a few weeks ago our principal had said we would be having half days for the exam days, as the students would likely struggle to focus after the exams. Agreed, especially when they struggle to focus on a normal day this time of year. She had said we would do the tests, serve lunch, and then be done. Walked into our meeting, was handed the schedule, and my face dropped as I saw school would only be getting out 15 minutes early Tuesday, 1 hour early Wednesday, and 45 minutes early Wednesday. This made me have to adjust my little field trips after school a bit, and I kept thinking how am I going to contain them in the afternoon. I'm not teaching a real lesson because it's not worth it. Went home and found some episodes of the Magic School Bus to share during the classes I would be having. I tell you what, you can't count on a schedule for anything down here. haha

Tuesday morning caught a ride with the Teofilo family. Even though no one was particularly heading to school in the vehicle that day, he dropped us off anyway. I'm not even sure who it was driving, not our VP or his wife, but he knew where we were going and was nice to us on the way. With 26 juniors in my room, I passed out and administered the SAT 10. The head football coach, Oakland, was also assigned to help monitor in my room. We gave three tests Tuesday morning - Reading Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics. While we were on one of the 10-minute breaks, I learned that Oakland attended the University of Colorado and played football there. He's a pretty nice guy.

The students were definitely wore out after the exams, as was I. I started an episode of the Magic School bus in my afternoon classes, and each time as the theme song began I heard a chorus of "Miss Boschen, we've already watched this." haha "Be patient you guys, this is just the theme song. Haven't you ever heard of theme songs or introductions for TV shows?" I heard the same thing on Wednesday. Good grief.

I also had a cool Samoan experience Tuesday. I had read about this ceremonial drink called "kava" or "ava" on my plane ride to American Samoa way back in July. It is made from the root of a plant and water. I was hoping I would maybe end up with the chance to try some before the end of the year. I had seen the package mix at the store before, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about mixing it with water properly. I had asked around with a few of my students, and one told me he would make some for me. He finally brought it in last week, and Tuesday we decided to make it quick. It wasn't super official with a real ava bowl and cups; our version was a bit more redneck, but it worked. The boys put the ground up roots into a white t-shirt, rolled it up, and then dipped it into our "bowl" of water. They did this many times, squeezing it out each time, and the water slowly turned a tan color. Then, using the little "cup" we had they scooped it up, and I got to try it first. Didn't smell weird or anything, but I had read how it wasn't a really nice taste. I was expecting it to be a lot worse, but it wasn't too bad. The boys also told me about how its used ceremonially and how traditionally only women make it and the men drink it. This was a cool little experience, and I'm glad we were able to make it happen.

This is Sanele pouring more of the ava root into the t-shirt we used.

This sort of shows you what the stuff looked like that was wrapped up in the t-shirt as they soaked it into the water. My camera didn't focus properly, but you get the idea the stuff didn't look too appetizing. haha This all gets thrown out, though. We just drink the water that the stuff has been dipped into.

Here you can see the shirt as it's being dipped and wrung out.

This is Fa'ai'u scooping some up into our cup.

Here's the residue left in the t-shirt after Sanele threw out the bulk of the stuff.

And... here's me drinking my cup of ava. Yay for cultural experiences!

These are my kind students that helped make this experience possible for Hannah and me. On the left is Sanele, and in the middle is Fa'ai'u. Thanks, boys. :-)

Headed to Zumba class after a science department meeting and working a little in my classroom. My legs sure were tired, but it felt good to push through it. The good Zumba session wore me out, so I headed home, showered, sat on the couch for a bit, ate a little dinner (rice pudding), and headed for bed. I fell asleep by 7:30pm. Glad I went to Zumba even though I felt a bit sluggish, as it helped me go to bed sooner, which is something I think I need this week when possible.

Wednesday morning got a ride with a guy that has picked us up many times, but we haven't seem him in a while. He told us he will be heading to Australia soon for some job training. SAT 10 again in the morning. Oakland handed me this little bag with some baked goods in it. He told me I should try these and that they were scones. Oh, I like scones. Thanks. They were really good, too. I asked if they were home-baked, and he said yes. He was glad to hear I enjoyed them. We administered the Spelling and Language tests Wednesday morning. Spelling was my favorite subject in elementary school.

This is one of the homemade scones Coach brought for me. Yum.

Showed some videos again in my afternoon classes. One more day of the SAT 10 ahead of us. Oh, and I forgot to mention... As I had taken some photos with various staff members at the luau last week, the guys that work in the kitchen happened to be there. They always say hello to me and smile, so I convinced them to take a photo of me. First thing Monday, one asked me if he could get a copy of our picture. I decided to print one out for both of them and one I had with Talita for her. I just printed them in black and white off of the computer, but they were more than happy to see them. Talita says "Good morning, Jessica" or "Hi, Jessica" every day now. The guys continue to wave, say hello, and smile. They're all great. I also printed off a few photos for our head of security that Hannah and I had taken with her. She was excited. Many of the others I had photos with had e-mails I was able to just send them too, and I have received nice thanks from all of them.

After school was one of the little field trips with Miss Boschen. I had six students join me to check out the National Park Visitor Center. Only two of the students are actually in my class. The others are friends of my students. All are welcome. Glad I could get some more out there. I had given Ranger Pa'i a heads up that I would probably be bringing some students by if anyone from her department wanted to speak with them a bit when we arrived. Ranger Pua led the students around the different exhibits explaining things as he went. He spoke mostly in Samoan, so I just hung in the back. I've already read all of the exhibits, though.

Here's a little photo I took of the cool 3-D map of the island that they have at the center. It sort of helps show you the great dimension of this island thanks to the beautiful mountains.

Here we have a group shot minus one of the students that came along. They all said they learned some new things and enjoyed themselves on our little trip.

Ranger Pua also thanked us for coming by. He was almost surprised to hear how I'm doing all of these little trips on my own time after school hours. It was also nice getting to see my friends Pa'i and Eymard, as always. "Yep, I'm back again," I said as they first saw me. haha

I saw one Tafuna bus go by as I walked to the Post Office quick to drop a few things off, and I thought, "man, I sure hope another one comes by soon. I don't want to be too late for Zumba." Didn't stand too long, and one came by. There was only one person on the bus at the time, and right away he asked me if I am part of WorldTeach. "Yes, sir." Turns out this guy is neighbors with my WorldTeach field director, originally from the Soloman Islands, and has been living on this island for five years. I always enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. He studied education his first time around in school, and later obtained a degree in marine science. He taught back in the Solomon Islands, and that was what he did his first couple of years here. Now he works for the Education and Outreach Division for the Department of Marine and Wildlife. When I asked what brought him here originally, he said it was random. A friend had mentioned some job here, and he came. Cool.

Sorry I didn't get this post up a day earlier. I was beyond tired and fell asleep really early Tuesday night as you may have noticed from my post. Another great Zumba session on Wednesday. My legs weren't as tired, and I had so much more energy overall. Even got a few things done when I came home. Now to try and fall asleep. Hopefully I'm not too energetic. Hope you all are having a nice week. :-)

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