MJ Live

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Nitty Gritty (Written 3/25/07)

Well it has been a while since I posted an update, so here goes. Not much has happened that's interesting lately, just working each and every day as hard as I can. During the past two weeks we have officially lost two teachers – one just got on a plane to New Zealand without telling the school when he would be back – so Kevin (my principal) had to hire two new people. Their names are Sila and Dora and both will be taking up teaching computer classes to the junior students.

It's kind of funny how at other schools that Peace Corps volunteers are at they have to try very hard to convince their teachers to learn how to use computers, but at Chanel we have basically forced about half the staff to learn something about computers because they have to teach it to the junior students. Now they are not teaching at the same level as Adam and I (who are teaching the senior/exam level classes) but it's a start that wasn't here when I first arrived. If there is a volunteer here after me, hopefully they will be able to focus on bringing up the quality of teaching computers for the junior students. As for me, right now I'm focusing on hardware – hardware – hardware. But before I talk about that, I did notice something quite interesting on Saturday. Every week we do "weekly grades" for the students – it's basically a behavior system based on points which means nothing in the long run (at least for the senior students). Well as I was filling in my grades for my students I decided to count how many students in year 12 were NOT taking computer classes. There are only 12 students out of like 130 that are not taking computer classes – that's crazy! Who ever teachers year 13 next year is going to have their hands full if even half of these kids graduate to year 13.

One of the bad things about living in Samoa as an IT person is that sometimes you have to wait a very long time in order to get the parts you need because they need to be shipped from overseas (primarily New Zealand). So on Friday, I went to the computer store in town that I have a good relationship with and they finally received the shipment of network cable that I ordered in January. I got 150 meters (492 feet) of network cable so that I could finally wire labs 3 and 4. On Saturday, I spent about 3-4 hours in the ceiling of my labs dragging wire from one end to the other. I learned a valuable lesson though – NEVER do this in the middle of the afternoon. It was like a sauna on crack in the roof, I was literally dripping buckets of water after my first trip up in the roof and I eventually ended up having to go in and out about 3-4 times to get the job done. Add onto this the fact that I only had one ladder to use and had to move it from place to place, it was a long tiring 3-4 hours. As I was working in the ceiling though (making sure not to crash through the roof – it's awfully brittle) a revelation hit me that as exciting as my job can be sometimes (Peace Corps Volunteer/Teacher) this is the part of the job that takes a lot of dedication yet gets very little praise/attention: having to spend a Saturday doing hard laborious work so that things can be easier for the students and staff. And the sad part is that once it's done and all working correctly – they will probably just act like it should not have taken as long as it did. No 'Good job' or 'Well done' (Kevin probably will say that, but not the staff) and it's definitely frustrating because I think that sometimes these folks believe that computers are easy because all I do is teach one subject – but it's neither simple, takes a lot of time to keep the computers working properly and requires a different method of teaching then the students are use to (interacting with them instead of just spouting out information for them to write down). In the end though, as long as I have done a job well done here and I know it – can't complain to much.

But what I can complain about is why that tall Ohio State player wasn't pulled out of the game for having blood on his shirt – where's the NCAA rules committee when you actually NEED them! Had he been out of the game, my Vols (Tennessee) would have been in the elite eight and maybe the final four. I was able to watch the game on Thursday night which was definitely a nice surprise. Now how great would it be if we had Florida vs. Ohio State at the national championship game again?! SEC 4 Life!

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