Real First Week of School

            Today, Monday 10/13/14, I started my first real day of teaching in Madagascar, as well as my first day of teaching English.  The rooms in my school are cement rooms with a blackboard on the wall in front of the class and two windows on each of the walls perpendicular to the blackboard.  These windows are the only source of light and airflow in the rooms.  The room is then filled with four rows of desks.  Each of these desks is about 3’ wide with a bench in which 3-4 students will sit.  Each room is has about 60 or so students and not all of them have a place to sit; though I am told more desks are being made. 
I have to say that overall my first days went fairly well; far better than I truly expected it to. 
Today, as well as the next, I went over the rules for the class and greetings.  The rules I wrote on the board in both English and Malagasy so that I was sure they knew what they meant.  After this, to their dismay, I told them that since this was an English class there would no longer be any speaking in Malagasy, but only English.  This would leave me with a bunch of blank faces staring back at me for the next few days and the realization that I had to remember to write or draw everything I said on the board or they would not understand it.  It was also during these first days that I had to set my routine so that the students would know what to expect and what I wanted them to do.  For example: placement on the board of the lesson list and vocabulary; creating a pattern of vocabulary followed by a text; using similar instructions on my different exercises.  All of these things lead to better understanding of what I want the students to do and after the first few days would end up making my class go a lot smoother.  I also found out that, though both they and I write in cursive, some of my letters are not written the same way as they are used to, so I have had to revert to using pint for these letters. 

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