Back in The Classroom – A three-day week, a long weekend cut short and Father’s Day

The three days at school this week went well. It took me two days to learn the names of those little strangers but now I feel as if I’ve known them for years!  There are one or two smart ones in the class and I have constantly to be on my toes.  I demonstrated on the chalk board how to write a perfect ‘g’ checked that everyone had mastered the skill then wrote up another.  A bright spark got out of her seat, squinted at my second g and said, “Ma’m – what went wrong here – your first one is perfect but this one is a little odd.”   Kids these days are so strict – I had to rub it out and do it again!

The weather has been cold, the kids have been sniffy and I’ve had four or five of them away at a time.  I wondered why the classroom was so quiet and peaceful when I realised that one of my loudest little girls was not there.  Later I was horrified to find out that she’s been diagnosed with swine ‘flu. I wonder, though.   She didn’t have a blood test. Her doctor says she has all the symptoms and  that it wouldn’t be worth having the test as its so expensive. Whatever – she’s very sick and this ‘flu that everyone is getting is a nasty one.

I am proud to say that after a slow start getting into the routine of my class and getting to know where the girls were at, I’ve managed to catch up with all that needed to be done. I now know whose in which group and have managed to do some proper teaching this week.

The 16th of June is a public holiday in South Africa – Youth Day – and it fell on a Thursday this year.   Lucky for us the Western Cape Education Department gave us Friday of for good measure making it a lovely four day weekend.   My poor husband, recovering from his chest infection decided that we should head off to Tulbach in spite of the prediction of inclement weather and me starting to cough and lose my voice.  I am very susceptible to laryngitis when I’m teaching!   We thought we’d just cosy up in our cottage, watch T.V., read and relax.   The weather was bound to let up sometime during the four days anyway and we were to stay in a nature reserve where the bird life should be plentiful.  But what a shock when we arrived, after a stormy drive at 6 o’clock that evening.   Our tiny stone one roomed  cottage was cramped and cold, there was nowhere to put clothing and very little space for provisions.  The bathroom was partitioned off and when I turned on the basin tap was horrified to get only a trickle of water.    The setting was lovely all among the fynbos but at that moment all I wanted was to get warm.   We could not braai – way too cold and wet – in fact a strong bitter wind was blowing and rain was pelting down.  We decided to settle for soup and rolls which Earl prepared for us on the ancient gas burner.   We snuggled up in the not very comfortable double bed and got very little sleep as the storm kept waking us up.   In the morning we’d had enough and Earl said, – “You’re sick, I’m not well yet – lets just go home!”  I got under the almost non-existent water of the freezing shower and dressed up warmly before we packed and went to complain to our host.  He was at first unsympathetic saying the water would be on in ‘a couple of hours’ as they were filling the tanks for the plunge pools.  “Not good enough I said,” I was unable to shower last night, unable to shower this morning – or rather suffered an inadequate trickle – I can’t spend a whole weekend like this.  He hadn’t realised that the water wasn’t working the night before and after a bit of persuasion agreed to refund us two nights and give us two free whenever we wanted to return.  That, I thought, was reasonable.

We found a little place to have breakfast – we were the only guests at ‘The Reader’ – and the hostess cooked us bacon and eggs and was very hospitable and chatty.      I was disappointed not to stay because the birdlife in spite of the weather was quite good outside our little cottage but once I was home and in my own bed I was so grateful not to have to struggle for space, warmth and water!

Today, I am feeling much better. My voice is back and I’m hardly coughing.   I’ve rested up and worked on making teaching aids.  I now have a lovely set of phonics work cards for initial, final and medial sounds.   Hooray for the internet and google images!   I also made a set of number conservation cards.  Dots are placed in several different arrangements for each number up to 10 and are brilliant for teaching kids to recognise number without counting all.

Today is Father’s Day and Laurie surprised Earl with breakfast in bed.   She made the most delicious scramble eggs with a touch of blue cheese, bacon and spring onions served on toast and with a glass of orange juice.  Of course, I got some too!

I have not been out at all this weekend.  Earl braaied on Thursday and Friday night, I made chicken Kebabs last night and tonight I’m not sure what we’ll do – perhaps order Pizza!   Next week is the last week of the second term. We have Funscapes for two days, parent interviews on Thursday and then break-up on Friday.  The story continues then.

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