Thursday, December 13, 2012

Calling all librarians and teachers!

Somehow I managed to miss posting these pictures from last time we were in Ambrym.  The owner of the house we are temporarily staying in  is the principal at the secondary school (grades 7-10) in a village about 1/2 hour walk away (and so has his own housing at the school which makes his house open for us).  Here's the secondary school below. 
 Ambrym island, especially in the North, struggles quite a bit to get teachers because ni-Vanuatu from other islands are afraid of their reputation for black magic.  It seems to us that every people group in Vanuatu says "it's not us doing that stuff, it's them!" but still Ambrym gets the worst rap and so has a hard time recruiting.  Principal Sandy asked Houghton and I to help him fill in, because in addition to his work as a principal, he was trying to keep up with math and science for the whole school.  Understandably, many classes were just not getting taught. Houghton taught 10th grade science and did mainly health and hygiene.
I taught 9th grade science and had to do the icky science subjects like forces, electricity, and energy.  Why didn't I think to start with their end-of-year curriculum and do anatomy first!  :)
We only taught for just over a month and a teacher came in to take our place.  He finished off the school year the end of November (their school year goes Jan-Nov, being southern hemisphere) and then just last week shipped out to Fiji for IT school so not sure what's happening next year.  

It was a great opportunity and gave us a good insight into the school system, good contacts, and some good open doors.  We could very easily step in when students are teacher-less and teach literacy or translation or Bible or whatever, so we are very thankful we were able to help out our landlord and the community in that way.

Jesiah's school where he attended for 6 weeks or so was short on teachers too.  His teacher would teach his 1st grade class for the 1st hour or so of school, then disappear to the classroom next door to teach 2nd grade for an hour or so.  Most students would love the chance to hang from the rafters for half the school day but Jesiah is a child of order and didn't enjoy the chaos much!  Now that we're settled more in Ambrym Gretch is schooling him and the girls and he's liking that more, although he does complain of the lack of kids in the village on his break times!  :)
Teachers are always in want in Ambrym but we also noticed the distinct lack of librarians...  Literacy is just not a part of life here outside of those students who progress through school, so learning how books should be treated isn't even on the radar.  This is of course a concern in a Bible translation project so seeing this we saw even more the value of ensuring we put high priority on having oral Scriptures (recording Scripture on solar mp3 players called Megavoices), as well as teaching literacy and value for the written Word.  And if anyone wants to come volunteer, I know a principal who would love to have you help him sort out the library and teach some library classes...

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