My Inspiring 9th Graders

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2013

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Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Friday, October 26, 2012

As I mentioned, part of my volunteer work is teaching English and Leadership Skills to the 9th graders. I travel to the township on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to do this. For the past month I have just been observing and doing basic English exercises with them (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, etcetera) just so I could get an idea of what level they are at. I also have spent a lot of time just trying to get to know them, learn their names (which wasn't as easy as I thought it would be), and build a relationship with them. I love my work and my students more and more each day.

When you look at these photos, know that the students you are looking at are very strong people. They all come from very tough family backgrounds. Most have lost at least one of their parents if not both to HIV/AIDs. They live in rough conditions as well with no electricity or running water. It is unsafe for them to walk at night and even sometimes during the day. Crime is common there. School really is their safe haven. When you ask these students if they are excited for school holidays many say "no." When you ask them “why”, they will tell you, “because we don’t have anything to do.”

This is also why it’s so unfortunate that even during the school year,  the education system in South Africa is very poor in the townships. So, even though they come to school every morning on time, teaching isn’t what it should be… that is, if there is any teaching at all. Some students really do want to learn and do something great with their lives, but they are behind because of the system. Many of the teachers in the township school aren’t even qualified to be teachers even though they are still paid more than the teachers in the nice schools (due to racial standards, but more information on that later).

 Anyway, their daily school structure at Lwandelekazi (the high school Masinyusane is partnered with) is almost non-existent. There are a few very good teachers but most don’t teach. School days can start at 9 a.m., lunch can last however long the teachers choose, and the school day can end as early as noon. I give my students that stay a lot of credit. They stay to get help so that they can someday get into a university here and be the first to go to college in their family. I am very proud of them and hope that, even though I am here for only a short time, I can make an impact on their lives and help them get their marks up.

Here are the pictures of my 9th graders and their names.  Enjoy J.
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