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THIS MONTH IN HISTORY

This is the Zimbabwean flag. Today we will learn some historical facts about Zimbabwe and focus on the positive aspects of the culture!

-On April 18, 1980, Zimbabwe won its independence with Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister and Canaan Banana as ceremonial President.

-Zimbabwe derives its name from historical stone structures called “Great Zimbabwe” (houses of stone), the largest in Africa after the pyramids of Egypt. The stone sculptures were built in stages between 800 and 1500 A.D.

-Two centuries before the Norman conquest of England, Zimbaweans were founding a great civilization, whish lasted for six hundred years. Despite difficulties of communication those days, African people developed powerful state formations, extensive administrations and sophisticated socio-economic networks. Historical evidence shows that the people had skills in agriculture, animal husbandry and metal smelting (iron, copper and gold).

-Zimbabwe has a high literacy rate! At independence, only 40% of children went to primary school, but by 1985, over 93% were attending school. Zimbabwe has one of the highest literacy rates (87%) and one of the most educated labour force. Following Zimbabwe’s independence there was also rapid expansion in secondary and tertiary education. In the health sector, government achieved a significant shift of facilities and resource allocation from urban to rural areas, and from curative to preventive health care.

-In the first ten years of independence Zimbabwe achieved phenomenal success in education, health, housing and social service sectors.

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Go ahead, try and prove me wrong :-)

I was told before starting my journey as a Namibian teacher that “the learners in Namibia have a hard time thinking critically”. i challenged that statement when I heard it. I asked the person, “well did you try and help them with that when you were teaching in Namibia?” From then I knew what and how I was going to teach these learners. The lessons I have been giving them have allowed them to definitely think critically, and guess what? They did! My learners have no problem thinking critically, and as a matter of fact, they catch on very quickly. There might be one or two that need me to explain or show something again but once I do, they’re on it. I have had them work in groups to create business flyers for their own made-up businesses, i have had them interview each other, and was surprised at the depth of the questions they asked; I’ve had them write their Autobiographies, I’ve had them do powerpoints. And to my surprise, they all told me that they never knew or learned these things before I came to Namibia to teach them, but somehow, the work they do in my class shows that they are capable of anything. Imagine, I teach grades 8-12, these are some people who have told me they never touched a computer, but If I show someone all the work they’ve done, they wouldn’t believe that some of that work was done by someone who has never touched a computer. There is something about traveling outside of the U.S. that makes one challenge everything they’ve ever been told or believed. It makes you realize that your way of life is such a small portion of the many ways of life there are in this world. It makes you start thinking more critically about the decisions you make, and allows you to become more accepting, but less tolerant of nonsense. Life is what you make it.

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Better with time

Sometimes it’s the little things that make teaching awesome. I learn so much from my learners. I’m very hard on them in the classroom because I expect the best from them in my short time here. Today I took over a class for an absent teacher who had an emergency to attend to back in his hometown. It was my favorite class, which helped, but they were just in the class doing nothing. i went there and they wre in the middle of doing nominations for an organization that allows student ambassadors to represent their school politically. I forgot the name to the organization, but trust me they were anxious about being picked for this position! After that was over, and the nominees from that class were picked, I told everyone to quiet down. I drew a hangman logo on the board and asked them if they knew what game it was. They all knew immediately! So I began to play hangman with them since although they were in their math period, I know nothing about math. The game allowed them to calm down and participate in a game which requires cooperation. They were each calling out letters and trying to guess what I was saying and I was just laughing in joy at their excitement. Finally the phrase as finished, “please be quiet” was the final answer. Everyone began to laugh becuase it is a phrase I say often. The next one I did was “Why are you laughing?” Again we all laughed because that is another one of my favorite phrases. Afterwards I felt it was necessary to let some learners get a chance. 7 learners got a chance to do their own hangman. We had so much fun trying to figure out what everyone wanted to write. One learner misspelled a word and tried to add more letters, that was funny because he tried to be slick, lol. All in all, I wish I had a camera because I love those moments where simple things make everyone so happy. I can see them outside of being learners, I just see them as kids who want to have fun just like any other kid.