We spent our first full day in an ANFEN school today (Etoile de Mer, “Starfish”), and had a blast. We learned a lot, not only for our research, but about these kids, who are very talented and bright, but who have unfortunately not had the opportunities they deserve.
We got to school at 9:00, and the kids were already waiting for us. We then split up and worked with different groups, both teaching and observing:
9.00-10.00: Kyle, English; Vedant, French; Mike, Math
10.20-11.20: Kyle and Mike, English; Vedant, Math
11.20-12.00: Kyle and Vedant, work in the garden; Mike, French (sitting in)
12.00-1.00: Lunch (we went off site)
1.00-1.15: Break (soccer)
1.15-2.00: Activities period: Kyle and Mike, computers; Vedant, lecture on Mauritian economy and history (really!)
The school was very well run and organized, but there are definitely areas where it stands to improve. The most obvious area is lack of resources. For example, in the math class I sat in on, there were simply not enough books, and about half the kids’ time was taken up copying a table into their notebooks. A few dollars here and there could really make a huge difference. We also got a sense that there was not enough staff to attend to kids of varying levels: all age groups were mixed in, and it seemed like the teachers could often do little more than keep the kids busy, which is truly unfortunate.
A few extra hands, and a little initiative could go a long way towards making this school a great place. The teachers are enthusiastic to have us, and the kids love it that we’re there.
More to come from Etoile de Mer and other schools soon.