Monday, July 13, 2009

We begin in Hosanna

First days are exciting, meeting the girls, trying to pronounce their names, doing the introductory dialogs to assess their English-speaking ability.

What grade are you in?
What’s the name of your school?
Who is your favorite teacher?
What is your favorite subject?

To my delight, most favor science rather than “soft” subjects like literature or social studies. But to my dismay, their English-speaking ability is minimal, not as good as the Nekemt girls. Hosanna girls are younger, in lower grades, are new to REAL, live in a smaller city where they never hear English spoken. Even though Sosi and I modeled the introductory questions and answers, they still have trouble. One girl stammered and stuttered, trying so hard and then burst into tears. I hugged her and said, minem idelem, (it doesn’t matter) but she cried for most of the hour. What can I do for her? Private lessons with just me and Sosi? No, I cannot separate her from the group. That would be too embarrassing for her. Being with the others will help her and I’ll find ways to give her extra attention.