Sunday, September 29, 2013

Expanding my job?

Tuesday is the start of the fourth term of our school year and the countdown begins. The third term was unbelievably busy and stressed.

The class teachers had to cope with preparing their students for the Annual National Assessments - the South African version of standardized testing. It has become a huge thing and there is a lot of stress for the teachers as they prepare the children to follow instructions and to answer sample questions in preparation for the big day. It's one of those times I am pleased I am not a class teacher. 

Actually I am not averse to being a class teacher  - it's just that the opportunity hasn't arisen so I continue to be the computer/ library lady. Up until July this year the library has been a regular but small part of my job with only 2500 books. That all changed when we received a donation of 40+ boxes of children's books from a church in Australia. The church had collected them from various schools - I suspect they might have been discontinuing their school libraries. They are a huge blessing to us and we are grateful for them.  Once the books are processed they will more than double the size of our library and necessitate another pair of hands in the media centre. At the moment I am being assisted by a part-time student helper who has many other tasks to fulfill during her time at the school so that's not working too well for me. 

For the past five weeks I have had normal classes but allowed the children to play educational games during computer time - maths, reading, phonics and puzzles. We had a concert at the end of term  which meant that the timetable was disrupted. This worked in my favour as the children enjoyed the freedom to choose computer activities and I had time to accession a thousand library books. This represents only about a third of the total donation of books but I'm pleased with our progress. The books are actually wonderful for our print-starved students. The books in our existing library are mostly 30 years old so Australia's second hand books are our new books. 

Once I had accessioned enough books I made up boxes of Mystery Books for each class and delivered them to the teacher. The children loved having such a variety of new stories to read and it's been a great hit. A lot of children don't have suitable books at home so it's a whole new experience. One disadvantage for me is that in handling so many second hand books my dust allergy attacked me and for the last five weeks I have been sneezing and coughing. 

Our concert was fun and in spite of the pressure and stress it turned out alright in the end. Each class "visited" a different country and to link the class items I wrote a script for four narrators who find an iPad lying on the stage and use Google Earth to zoom into the continents and countries. 
There are lots more photos of the concert on our Facebook page.
We have also had our inter house hockey, soccer and netball matches at the end of term, reports and parent interviews and a staff function. Most teachers limped to the end of the term fighting a flu epidemic amongst the staff but we got there. Now for term four and all the extra burdens that brings, starting with house athletics in the second week.....