Hello from Okombahe, Namibia! A couple weeks ago we said goodbye to Okahandja for three weeks in order to spread out across Namibia for Community Based Training (CBT).
CBT gives us Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs) a chance to really get a feel for what Namibian schools are like and what we might face at site before we are given sites and sworn in. We are given a chance to not only observe Namibian teachers and their classrooms but also experience co-planning, co-teaching, and a little bit of solo teaching in our last week.
I have really lucked out in the host family department while I have been in Namibia. My host family in Okombahe is also wonderful and loving, and takes very good care of me. They also make it a point to have me speak in mostly KKG when I can! I am staying with the principal of the primary school, which is also my assigned school, and his wife who helps run the hostel at the school. For a couple of weeks my host sister is in town from Swakopmund (a coastal town I am definitely planning on visiting), and she is one of the most hilarious people I have ever met.
There is so much packed into every day. We get to school at 6:40am for the daily staff meeting, and then school starts at 7am, or as close to 7 as we can get. Throughout the day each of us (there are three of us at the Primary School and two at the Secondary School) goes into various classrooms to observe different elements of teaching and management. We also have to fit in two hours of language training a day as well as technical training every afternoon after everyone leaves for lunch.
I have learned a lot throughout the first month of PST, but I am excited to actually apply everything I have learned during CBT. I have learned several new tips and techniques from observing Namibian teachers that I cannot wait to try out in my own classroom once I start officially teaching in January.
The school is also a wonderful place to be. The teachers are kind and really know their stuff. The learners are also very respectful. The school is set up so that in senior primary (Grades 4-7), the teachers rotate from class to class while the learners themselves stay put. Whenever a new period begins and the teachers enter, the learners must stand and greet them: “Good Morning, Miss/Sir” and then the teacher asks “How are you?” “We are fine, thank you, Miss/Sir.” They then sit and begin the lesson. It’s awesome!
I am nervous about beginning co-teaching next week, since I really don’t have any formal experience teaching in front of a class (and electives at Governor’s School East really don’t count!), but I am excited also. One step closer to becoming Miss Romary, officially a teacher!