Sorry I kind of fell off the map! It’s been an internet struggle-filled couple of days! The power was out for 5+ hours on both Friday and Saturday, and the internet has been wacky ever since.
Saturday was full of more surprises at school. I feel a little better though because I’m starting to realize that even though I probably know what’s going on the least out of everyone, no one ever really knows what’s happening. In general, there’s one person who knows what the plan is, and it’s the person who made the plan. Everyone else finds things out at the last second.
Communication and planning are two nearly nonexistent concepts here. A couple weeks ago, Jenrika was telling me a story about something that happened, and I was baffled by it.
“I’m confused,” I said. “Isn’t that something that would have been planned out?”
She looked at me and laughed, “This is India. There’s no such thing as ‘planning’.”
Oh… I see. She explained that things are usually somewhat “planned” (using that word in a much looser sense than you’re thinking), but then, someone will change things at the last second and not tell anyone until the moment when it’s happening. So even if you think you know what to expect, there’s a good chance that it’s going to get changed without you knowing. That means I’m not the only one who gets stuck doing surprise speeches and taking on last-minute responsibilities.
Jenrika and I, along with one of the other teachers, have been working together to plan the chapel program for the kids each Saturday. I’ve been placed in charge of storytelling every week which doesn’t completely make sense to me considering the kids don’t understand a word I say, but that’s beside the point. The point is, this week, we all thought chapel was happening, so we made a “plan” (as in, a loose plan but one requiring us to prepare a bit before Saturday). We all found out that chapel wasn’t happening during the assembly on Saturday morning. Helpful, right? No. The answer is no. Helpful would have been finding out before I spent any time getting ready, but that’s just the way things go here.
We also found out that the kids had a dictation test (spelling test) that morning, but since neither Jenrika or I knew about it and we’re the English teachers for classes 9 and 10 (because why bother telling the English teachers about an English test?), we hadn’t prepared anything. We quickly threw together a list of words from the story we read last week, and I went to give the class 10 kids the test.
You may be wondering, shouldn’t the kids know the words ahead of time for a dictation test? That was precisely my question. It was then explained to me that yes, normally that would be the case, but this was just a practice test. The kids were grading each other’s papers (and I was warned that they would try to change their friends’ answers to help them out while grading. I’m shocked… not), and I spent at least 5 minutes trying to understand if I was supposed to collect the papers and record the scores or if the kids were supposed to keep them. (I still don’t know the answer, but I decided to just collect them to be safe.)
There were 80 minutes allotted for a 20-word dictation test and answer review. Yes, that’s way more than necessary. After the test, Jenrika came into the class to help, and we spent the rest of the time playing boys against girls hangman where the theme was “Whatever Big Word Pops into Lara’s Head First”.
After period 2 ended, Jenrika and I found out that there wasn’t a plan for class 10 for the last two periods of the day. Luckily, I had pulled together a newspaper craft just in case (things I learned abroad: you never know when you’ll need a good craft idea, so it’s best to keep a few in the back of your head), so I spent the next hour and a half attempting to teach the kids (and Jenrika) how to make a newspaper basket. It was quite the adventure, but it actually turned out much better than I expected. Some of the girls even stayed after the bell rang to finish their baskets! You know that a kid is enjoying herself when she stays at school even a second longer than she has to.
For a day of making things up on the spot, I’d say we did pretty well. I was very much encouraged by the fact that Jenrika and I were both completely in the dark about the plans for the day. For once, I didn’t feel like I was the only one making things up as I went along.