The First Day

Gionii's first day at Airfield School in Ghana

The kids at assembly before school begins.

Today was our first day at Airfield in Ho. Though I have worked in a lot of classrooms, I was surprisingly nervous. What if I offended someone? What if I hated the school? What if I was culturally insensitive? What if the kids thought I was a freak of nature? Though the day wasn’t completely smooth sailing, it started off wonderfully! The kids were all lined up for assembly at the school when we arrived. They do that every morning around 7:45 a.m. We greeted all the teachers and shook hands with everyone.

Afterward, Headmaster Stephen introduced us to the kids. Ellen gave a little speech about how excited she was to be back at the school. Then, Patricia, who works as a member of Pagus in Ho, asked the headmaster if the kids would sing for us before they went to class and he said, “of course!”

It was so adorable! They began playing the drums and singing a song in Ewe. Despite the fact that I had no idea what they were saying, I absolutely loved it. Later, Say (our host and the class 6 teacher) told me they were singing praises because they were “joyful” that we “were among them!” I felt very welcome and happy to see them so enthused.

Ellen left us relatively early in the day to visit Pagus’ other school, Bishop Forson School Complex, in Kpando. We spent the rest of the morning observing the classes and the ways Airfield teachers teach.

During the afternoon, however, the day became decidedly less fun.

Headmaster Stephen called a staff meeting that began at noon and did not end until 3 p.m. Those were three very long hours. Not only was the staff difficult to understand because we did not know them at all, but they were also arguing about things we did not understand. During that time, no one taught the children because everyone was in the staff meeting. Instead, the students ran around playing. I don’t believe the meeting was very productive for anyone.

After talking to Say, we found out that the staff meetings don’t usually last that long. Typically, the teachers hold a “standing meeting” which only lasts a few minutes before classes each day. I was really happy to hear that. Either way, the three hour meeting made the day long.

On the other hand, the children sing every day.

Comment on this post