Archive for December, 2008

OLPC

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I have a one laptop per child laptop!!! It arrived this morning and is absolutely gorgeous!!! It’s got ears!!!

I haven’t decided what to call it yet, but the smart money’s on Fred (since that’s the name of the old cooker, the new cooker, my old bike, my new bike, any temporary variable in any bit of VBA I’ve ever written, etc)!

I’ve had a quick play with it this morning and am about to devote some quality afternoon time to playing more. They are designed for kids like the ones I’ll be teaching – but they’re designed for one per child (hence the name) rather than Kath having one to try to use with a room full of kids. So I’ll have to see if it’s possible to use it effectively with a large class. If not, then I’ll at least use it as a lesson planning resource for myself and for the other staff in the school.

1st Sleepless Night

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Well, last night wasn’t the best of sleeping nights for me. I did get some sleep (quite a bit probably – if you add it all up) but it was mostly tossing and turning and then getting up at 7am (after going to bed at about 1:30). I think it’s the thought of my rucksack all packed and lying on the living room floor next to the box of things that are staying in Cambridge. Plus lesson planning thoughts. Plus (and I think this is a big one) my room is FREEZING! So all things together meant that sleep wasn’t my friend last night.

Ah well, there’s always tonight (or this afternoon on the sofa)! 🙂

With only 10 days to go and quite a bit of stuff to do before I go, it is beginning to get a bit scary – though I am really excited and really quite frightfully organised!! So one somewhat sleepless night isn’t too bad.

Counting Down

Monday, December 29th, 2008

There are 10 days to go. I’ve gone list and timetable crazy and now know exactly what I should be doing and when. Though I suspect there’ll be an awful lot of ‘gang aft aglay’-ing going on!

I have done my first pack. My daypack fits inside my big rucksack and the combination weighs about 13kgs. And there are some more teaching materials I want to pack. So it’s ok for carrying but I wouldn’t want to walk too far with it. But since some of the stuff is teaching stuff that will get taken to the project and then left there, I won’t be carting it all around with me once I’ve left. So maybe I don’t need to worry too much about the weight.

I’ve also done a bit more of my TEFL course (it’s coming along slowly, it’s somewhat useful, but a bit strange), lots more Sinhala (I can now say that I’m a vegetarian) and some lesson planning.

Finished Work

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Christmas Eve could well have been my last day of paid employment for 6 months!! I am now very happily unemployed (take that government statistics). Now just got to gear myself up for the 3 months of unpaid volunteering and the couple of months of wandering aimlessly (or aimfully, depending).

I had a really great time working at RSD and I hope that I’ve been useful in the short time that I’ve been there (and that I don’t get too many panicked emails from them about queries and parameters and reports and DSNs and things). 🙂

Training Day

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Way back in November (before I got too busy to update my blog), I had a training day with VESL. So I pottered off down to London (London buses are sooooo cooooool) to spend the day getting excited!! I learnt lots of great stuff (some scary, some not so scary) and met Alex. Alex will be in the same project as me, though he’s staying with a different host family.

So the deal is, we’re off to teach in the Kandy Model School (which is just up the road from Kandy). There’s a primary and a secondary school and we’ll be teaching there from 7:30 -12:30 each morning. We then have the afternoons to run after-school clubs and to work in the Teacher Training college which is just down the road. So I’ll get access to primary, secondary and post-secondary students! Which is going to be a great variety!!

I’ll be staying with the chief English teacher and her husband and Alex will be staying with the Principal.

We learnt a stack of stuff about how we can stay safe and healthy, what to do and not do and also some bits of what to do once we’ve done the things we shouldn’t have done in the first place. Some select pieces of advice: do not get bitten by mosquitoes, walk at right angles to protests if you happen to stumble across any (or they stumble across you), don’t worry if your host family laughs at everything you do. 🙂 Basically a nice healthy dose of common sense plus some nice inside advice (take a duvet cover to sleep in)!

We also got some stuff about lesson planning and some ideas and stories about what the actual teaching is going to be like. All of which is dead terrifying and dead exciting too. 🙂

A big, big thank you to Ian, Tom, Adrian and Clara for their words of wisdom and hospitality!