MJ Live

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Sense of Closure (Written 12/13/05)

Today was definitely a day that felt like things were coming to a close as far as training goes. The first thing we did today was work on our 90 day work plan for our jobs – which for most of us, as teachers, doesn’t start until 2006. It was kind of strange to be done with the prep work for this new Peace Corps adventure and finally get to the ‘work’ portion of it – both excited and sad at the same time. While many of the trainees had people from their jobs their to help them out, my people were all on vacation (don’t worry, I was warned beforehand) so I basically had to come up with a work plan for myself based off previous conversations with the former volunteer and the principal at my school. So here’s what I’ll possibly be doing for the first 3 months that I’m here:

1st Month:
- Develop an understanding of vocabulary used in work environment
- Start a brief overview of curriculum for years 12 & 13 (Samoa works off the British system of school years)
- Make posters of important terms for use in classroom (in Samoan and English if possible)
- Walking/bike around to familiarize myself with the environment
- Meet with contacts established by previous volunteer
2nd Month:
- Restart language training
- Meet with Father Kevin (principal) to discuss needs of school
- Work on developing my teaching style
- Try to meet with teachers before school starts
3rd Month: (School Starts)
- Improve language skills by talking to students and teachers
- Meet with teachers about their goals for the year and how to incorporate computers into those goals
I will also try to meet some of the volunteers during that time since a lot of my ‘community’ will be gone for the Holiday season. I will work on side projects on a limited basis until I feel comfortable with my workload at Chanel.

And that’s my draft for a 90-day work plan, we’ll see how it goes. After that session, we got back the results of our LPI and I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself – and it takes a lot for me to impress myself. I went from being a novice high on the pre-LPI test to being a Intermediate High on the actual LPI! I jumped 3 spots and that’s just from studying and feeling comfortable with the interviewer. One of the few times where I was completely shocked by the results – everyone passed and that’s what really matters in the end. After that we finally got our own medical kits and did a session on bike safety (always wear your helmet while riding a bike) before distributing the gifts that we got from the village 2 weeks ago – I got like 6 lavalavas and a vase-type deal, so I should be set with lavalava’s for my two years here. After arriving here with none in October I have like 12 now – my how generous the Samoan people are!  Anyway, its crazy to think that when I type this letter tomorrow I’ll actually be a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I’m excited and nervous at the same time – excited because I will be doing something that few Americans have ever done and nervous because a part of me still feels underqualified for this job – but that’s because I’m following in the footsteps of a volunteer who did a heck of a job at Chanel. But I have to make it my own and I am definitely up to the challenge – as anyone who knows me well can attest to, I never give up on a challenge and this just happens to be the biggest challenge of my life. See you tomorrow when I’m once again a Volunteer! Go VOLS! (Let’s hope the swearing-in ceremony goes better then their season)

Also, in honor of the holiday season and the fact that today starts the 12 days of Christmas (although it doesn’t feel like it), I’ll add bits of the Peace Corps version of the song to my blog up until Dec 25. It is sung to the tune of the ’12 days of Christmas’:
“On the 1st day of homestay my family gave to me…..pea soupo me le mulipipi”


Jonas said...

Great job on the LPI! I'm impressed! :-D

Mom said...

Excellent Progress. I am (as always) very proud of you.
Love ya.