I was hoping to write a cool blog, but now I'm at the library and my notes are back in my dorm room. No unified, thematic story today--sorry!
I have two new birds to hang out with, and the photo credits are below. The guy on the left is a Pin-tailed Whydah, or Vidua macroura. Isn't he amazing? Of course, he didn't look this dramatic this morning when I spotted him.
We're down to two remaining months of summer and the grass in the soccer field (outside my window) is chest high. The tough, reedy grass is attracting a variety of new birds to watch: they like to perch on the long stems and sway back and forth in the breeze. They are so much fun to watch.
The other guy is a Kalahari Scrub-robin (Erythropygia paena) and he doesn't like to hang out in the long grass, but I spotted him under a large tree looking for stuff to eat (much in the same way our American robins do, but there are no earthworms here for them to eat.) I love him for his white eye-brow and his rusty bottom!
After another round of grading six grade English papers, I thought I'd again share some comments from student writing:
The assignment was to list 3 causes and solutions to illiteracy: "HIV is not good to drink." (I'll say!)
The assignment was to write a paragraph about their family: "When my Grandmother and Grandfather reproduce..." (okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay)
My Grandfather is black. My Grandmother is black. My mother is white... :-)
And my favorite: "I wonder what that says?" (In regards to the question asked.) :-)
My grading standards have changed somewhat. Before, when I'm evaluating punctuation and the correct use of it in student writing, I look for how punctuation is used.
Now, when evaluating student writing for punctuation, I ask myself, "Is there any?" :-)
I wasn't going to say anything but I guess I will. I saw some shocking child abuse, oops, I mean corporal punishment this morning in a school. Someone with more authority than the educators carried a 7th grader in by the shirt collar, threw him on a table and forced him to balance himself on the table edge by his front thighs while his punisher went to look for a switch. (I could never imagine this as a kind of punishment; it seemed much more in line with torture than punishment.)
I did my regular, ineffective cowardly thing of freezing, popping into denial, "Is this really happening?" and then, "If it is happening, what should I do?"
The person issuing the punishment sensed my alarm and took the student into his office to administer the whipping. I heard 8 whacks, smacks, or whatever you call the sound of a sturdy, thin, pliant branch hitting someone's flesh.
When I witness something like this, it is beyond horrible. If I saw an adult treating an adult that way, it would be horrible. But this is a child.
I definitely have a very violent, physical reaction when I witness these kinds of incidents (this is my second of the more alarming whippings): I feel as though I will vomit.
I am going to become very prayerful about what my role with this is: should I stay, say nothing, and model non-violent classroom teaching techniques?
Should I confront the abuser? (If I confront the abuser, it will have enormous consequences for me, the school, the educators, the community, and the learners...)
Should I ask to be removed from the school?
Peace Corps cautions us to choose our battles carefully...
I don't know what the answer is, but will pray for guidance... I think I've felt kind of stunned for most of the day...
I'm sorry to share this awfulness with you...