on friday (yes, moving day) the students started their exams.  these will continue next week, which is quite exciting as it means i have no more lessons to plan for this term.  just grading.  but that’s not the story.  the story is this:

on friday the ninth, teachers handed in their exams, hand-written, to the secretary to type.  on monday the twelfth not a one had been typed.  on tuesday the thirteenth we found the director typing with two fingers while the computer teacher read an exam to him.  next to them sat a stack of about fifty exams.  ridiculous.  where’s the secretary?  she’s sick.

so amanda and i volunteered to help type.  not out of the goodness of our hearts, but because we couldn’t bear to watch the two-finger typing continue.  in our free periods we sat in the director’s office and the secretary’s office, with the director hovering, and got through six or seven exams no sweat.

on wednesday the fourteenth, we skipped a couple review classes to type some more.  in the afternoon we had a meeting with the vice-mayor of the district.  the meeting ‘started’ at three, which meant all the teachers and the director sat around doing nothing (in other words not typing any exams) waiting for the vice-mayor to arrive.  she got there at 4:30.  she then spoke in kinyarwanda for two hours, despite the fact that five of the teachers are congolese and don’t speak kinyarwanda very well, while my translator spit all over me.  that is, when he was translating, which was about fifty percent of the time.  the other half he spent staring out the window saying nothing until i asked him what she’d just said.  total waste of time.

on thursday the fifteenth (the day before the exams started), i had eight important classes to teach.  ten minutes into the first one, the director came in and told me i had to type all day.  he took both me and amanda out of class to type.  so my students, who were behind anyway because of hero’s day and women’s day (did you know there’s an international women’s day?), missed out on their last class before the exam because the white girls are the only ones in this country who can type.  absurd.

so we typed all day, with a collection of teachers hovering and crowding and just generally making me hot and claustrophobic.  (a note- deodorant and toothpaste are expensive here, and it’s hot and sweaty anyway, and i find rwandans generally don’t observe personal space etiquette.)  why they didn’t type their own exams, i know not.  with as little snapping and as few temper-tantrums as possible, we got through all of them, printed the ones for friday, spell-checked and corrected about half.

on friday the sixteen (yes, moving day) the director called us in to finish the spell-checking and printing.  and i calmly told him that he was perfectly capable of doing it himself, as was the computer teacher, and that it was my day off and i had to move all of stuff into his house because the painters had kicked us out and i had to go to kigali because our new house wasn’t ready yet and we had no place to sleep and so i was not going to type anymore.

and that was that.  the end.

~ by aliciawolcott on March 17, 2007.

3 Responses to “exams”

  1. that is a funny story–though I’m sure it was trying for you.

  2. way to stand your ground while being as understanding as possible. I hope they realize they’re demanding a lot from you and it’s challenging for you. If they do, and then see you respond with understanding, flexibility, and zeal, it seems you’re on your way to establishing yourself as a strong piece of the community.

  3. Very funny from long distance. You did the right thing to help out with the typing — sounds like you’re teaching more than the kids. I’m so impressed with your cooking extravaganzas. We don’t eat that well here!

    You should do a post with what kind of teaching aids you need — chalk (not in dust form)?

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