Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Exams as a beginning!

We are now a part of the Orkeeswa teaching staff and the school with its extended hours and range of non-teaching employees feels very much like a family. It has been something of a baptism of fire given that we arrived to discover that there would be exams in just over a week and that that decision to run them, had been made only very recently and therefore the previous English teacher had not set the papers.

With the deadline only 3 days away we launched into the first task of trying to acquaint ourselves with the style and format of the national exams. Obviously we needed to mirror that so that the students could gain the maximum benefit. Secondly we needed to read the curriculum documents and texts already covered by our classes in order to write appropriate questions and have some idea of how to grade them when they are completed. Luckily some past papers came to light and we settled for allowing those to guide us.

We are still grappling with the details of the curriculum requirements and the reading that will enable us to make better decisions on the quality of the answers, but given there is a week holiday following the exams I now feel that I can accomplish the reading this week and sort through the exams during the break. Ian however is less fortunate as his exams have been moved from Good Friday to the first Monday of term to accommodate the Easter holiday. It really was a frantic way to begin but now that the papers are written and the exam period underway I feel that we will at least begin the second quarter with a much better idea of where the students are at and what the curriculum involves.
The students here are very endearing even at this early point and we are sure that they will make their way into our hearts. As we struggle with a new language and mispronounce all their names they continue to engage us in friendly conversations and take an active interest in their studies and the many extra curricula activities that take place every day after school. We feel very ill informed about the culture at this point. I guess that is to be expected given this is our first sojourn outside of Asia and it has really been a hectic start.

Bhutan is often in our thoughts as there are so many similarities between our situations here and there. I am sure we talk to our colleagues about the kingdom and our students and experiences there way too much but the scenery, the students and the culture are so embedded in our souls now it is hard to let go. In fact, I am not sure that we ever will.

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