Saturday, June 6, 2009

17 Years & Counting...

So here I thought that I would be getting a year off from school coming here, but as God’s good sense of humor has it, one of the main things I’m doing here is working in the school, haha. The children have their own school here at the home. They operate on the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program. I find it best described as being similar to the self-paced, individualized aspect of home schooling, but is set in classrooms with teachers and where certain subjects are pulled out and taught/supplemented class-room style. Each different subject has a long series of workbooks that will be worked through from preschool through high school with every 12 books indicating the next grade level. This program works well because so many of the kids have come here with differing educational levels and backgrounds and this way they can begin at an individualized level in each subject no matter what their age.
There are 6 different classrooms that are divided by grade level, but not necessarily actual age: preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, lower elementary, upper elementary/lower middle, and upper middle school/high school. Preschool is taught by COZV’s own Beerina (19) who got her pre-school teaching certificate last April, but the rest of the classes are taught by local teachers.
Each classroom has a main supervisor and a monitor. Together they work to make sure the kids stay on task, make sure they understand concepts before moving on, tutor them in things they don’t understand, and monitor the scoring of their work. And of course there is also the paperwork of administering tests, grading, and entering grades. I am the monitor to the oldest classroom, which is also the largest with 19 kids.
School goes from 7:30 am to 2:45 pm Monday thru Friday with a break for lunch at 1. Whatever they don’t finish of their assigned “goals” for the day must be completed during homework time in the afternoon or some of the oldest kids are permitted to take their workbooks home at night to work on them. They go to school almost year round to try and help in catching them up with their schooling.
I worked in the same position the first time I came here so it was a relatively quick and easy adjustment since I had already been trained in the system. I have really enjoyed getting to spend more time with the kids since I am with them all day in school in addition to the time spent with them at the home.
Pictured above is the setup of the classrooms. Each child has an “office” where they do their work and then the slanted table on the left is where they score their work. To the right is Fortune Madzime, the supervisor of the classroom and the vice principal of the school, helping someone with their work.