Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Volunteer: public school (Day 1).

After many weeks of pausing, waiting (and not doing anything but freaking out), last week I finally called up a school to do volunteer work. I managed to get a school on the first try. Actually, I didn't know which school to call up so my friend, J. asked me to write down the names on pieces of paper and pick lots. *lol*. Not exactly the best way, but it worked. So there!

I managed to get a school on the first try ......which was really great, because I wasn't really sure which school to call up as they all looked like really great options. On the same day, I went to the school to personally sign up as I wasn't free any other day.

So today I woke up really early feeling much excitement in my bones! I arrived at the school, D.H (which is a block south-west walk from my university). It was really not exactly the best day to go in as apparently on that very day, all the schools were having Testing for the Year 3, 5 and 7s. The deputy principal was really busy, and I sat waiting in the office for about half an hour before anyone could direct anywhere (yes, principals and staff are always busy, you know?). So I had to excuse them for that.

I was directed to a Year 3 class *yeah!* There really wasn't much more me to do on that day, so I took two children (who had only just arrived not too long ago) and did some writing & reading activities with them, as they were not doing the testing. There were about 20+ students in that classroom, with about 2 middle-east students, and 1 new student who just arrived (and had to do the test!). That's strange in my opinion anyways.

I did manage to have a look at the Year 3 Test papers. It's not exactly a test that students can study for, as it just assesses the student's literacy and mathematical skills, and there are no pre-set questions or ways to help students. It is done as an on-going assessment, whereby students who do not do as well will be allocated assistance (or funding) by the govt. for remedial work. The questions were actually quite tricky, and the students had to read the questions on their own. Today they were assessed on the numeracy part (hence, the teacher was allowed to read from the paper), but tomorrow the students will assessed on the literacy part of the paper (and hence, have to read everything on their own without the teacher's assistance).

When the students went off to the library (after doing an hour of testing), one of the girls in the classroom by the name of Caroline, spoke to me and took me around. She was one of the longest as she had to repeat a year in the same class and knew her way around. (She acted like one of the student leaders, although she technically wasn't an assigned one, lol). The class went to the library, where the librarian (who had her arm in a bandage due to a blood clot) read a book to the children with a stern looking expression on her face.

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