Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creativity and KOTOKO

Not only does the lack of resources in the classroom change the way we teach, but it actually changes what we teach and how we plan. We know there are not any computers, smartboards, or projectors, but there is also one copy machine at the school that is used very sparingly (not by us). At my first placement, I sometimes felt like I spent the entire day at the copy machine. Here, I write notes on the whiteboard, and students must copy them. This takes time, and gives me less time to discuss and explain with the class. Rather than print out different visuals for class, primary school teachers are hand drawing all of their posters, and adolescent teachers never hand out dittos or worksheets.

There is one resource that we do have an abundance of... teachers. The student teachers that came on this trip are either Adolescent English and Social Studies or Elementary Ed. There is rarely a time where I don't ask the opinions of my other Adolescent English colleagues about my lessons and what they think would work and what would not. Last night, I did not have a lesson to prepare, and my friend Emmy did. She was teaching literary elements in fiction and non-fiction works, and was having difficulty finding a passage that encompassed all of the elements she intended on teaching. Our solution? Write the examples ourselves. She wrote a non-fiction piece about why she came to Ghana and why she wants to become a teacher, and I wrote a silly fiction story about a Gorilla named Michael. Every day we are adapting to what we have to work with, and we always work it out. Here is an excerpt from the example that I created to assist in her lesson:

"...Michael’s father is very hard on him. He rarely smiles, and whenever Michael entered local banana eating competition, his father would tell him he is wasting his time. His father is very serious, and if someone’s actions are not helping support his band, he does not approve of those actions. Michael is just the opposite. When he is around his father, he is like a soldier and obeys his every command, but when he is alone, he is creative, and likes to explore, read books, and especially eat bananas. There had to be a way that Michael could prove to his father that being a professional banana eater is an important job and is something that means a lot to him… but how?

Just as Michael was going to get up from his spot underneath the tree, a banana fell and hit him on the head. He was hungry, so he did not mind. He ate the banana, and when he was about to get up, another fell and hit him in the head. He looked up to see where the banana came from, and saw no bananas, but a poster that read: “Think you can eat bananas? Come test your skill with the best in the jungle, next Saturday at noon. First Prize is the MEGA BANANA SUPER TROPHY.” Michael looked up in awe. He knew he had to win that trophy. If he could bring that trophy home to his father, he would realize how important banana eating is and that it is not a waste of time. The trophy represents a whole new relationship between him and his father, and Michael could not let this opportunity pass him by..."

After school today, the group took a trip to Baba Yara Stadium (I posted a picture a few posts ago) to see our first Ghanaian Premier League game... ASANTE KOTOKO. I had classes until the end of the day, so I went late with a group to meet the students that were already at the game.
They're the porcupines. 
We tried entering the main gate, where scalpers told us they could give us a great deal on seats: 1000 Ghana Cedi for 5 tickets (about 500 dollars). I laughed, and we went to the actual gate and bought tickets for 6 Ghana Cedi, (under 3 dollars). As we entered, it began to absolutely pour. The rain did not affect us. We sat thirteen strong in the Kotoko stands, and cheered like we've lived in Kumasi our entire lives. The first half went by without a score. Instead of taking cover under an awning during halftime, I went and danced with the die hard Kotoko fans and their band (I was completely saturated already, so it didn't make a difference and no, I had not been drinking).

All of my friends were waiting on the edge of our seats for the first goal, and not long into the second half, it happened. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL. The stadium, which was by no means full, went absolutely insane. From a young age, my dad has shown me that it is totally acceptable to become friends with fellow fans around you at sporting events, and that certainly came out in me at this moment. There were people screaming and running back and forth in our aisle and I must have hugged 3 different strangers. I actually hugged one guy and jumped up and down in a circle with him. None of the other goals were quite as exciting, but overall, the 3-0 Kotoko victory was a blast. Unfortunately, Ghanaians don't believe in humans who wear anything sized Extra Large or 2X for that matter, so I couldn't get myself a jersey (I'm pretty sure they were only selling youth sizes).

My friend Sherry takes cool pictures:

Soaked with rain and Kotoko pride.




  1. Glad to see that you're adjusting well to the new culture. I must admit, your description of the first goal put a wide smile on your face. It sounded like a really fun night!

    Oh, my god. You read a whole short story fit with literary elements and a good structure for elementary students in one night? How?! I've been speed-writing a story for NaNoWriMo for the past 14 days and I'm not even 7000 words in. I should be at over 20000 at this point (the goal is 50000 words by the end of the month). On top of that, you're writing these blogs that are typically just shy of 1000 words. I'm envious!

    1. Hey Chance! I'm so glad you're reading my blog, I am having a blast here. I'm always missing you and our class in HF-L. I'm excited that you're writing, you definitely have the mind and voice for it. Keep going!

  2. Being a season ticket holder with Michael the Gorilla's father for many years, I can attest to his propensity to befriend the total strangers who "root root root for the home team" (different sport, same idea). Glad you are having fun. -Tony