So sorry that it has been so long since the last post. Half of it is my fault, the other several weeks of silence was due to the internet being out of action across Tokelau. So, what's news...?
We are into Week 8 next week of Term 2. Across the world this means only one thing to teachers... assessment! Here I'm blessed, and dismayed, that it simply means making up your own test on what you have taught, and then reocrding the percentage into a 'portfolio' that goes home to parents. No 'next learning steps', no work samples, no 'I can...' statements and no comments... The assessment and reporting seems so pointless, and at the end of the day its the kids that miss out. Maybe one day someone will be brave enough to suggest a better way, but I'm sorry to say that person is not going to be me. Baby steps is what it is all about here. Baby steps!
We've continued to work on the literacy professional development. Its coming along. Slowly. In fact, teaching in general has been a bit slow here recently, mainly due to the 'flu'. Not the 'Swine Flu', but the Atafu flu (I call it the Ataflu!).
A few months back the news of an influenza outbreak in Tokelau hits the headlines in NZ... thank goodness it was before anyone had heard of Swine Flu! The World Health Organisation turned up and carried out influenza immunisations and testing, which resulted in no one actually testing positive for influenza. I guess it turned out to be simply a very, very nasty cold.
Never being one to miss out on anything, Matt and I headed for Atafu on a teacher professional development seminar... and yes, I got the flu too! Yippee and 'hurrah!' (Anyone who has read 'War and Peace' will know what I'm talking about).
After returning to Fakaofo ready to start the term, I ended up having to take a week off school. The children and teachers and the rest of the island... including the doctor, also ended up with the nasty cold too. The doctor ordered all the children with a cough or a snotty nose to take the week off school. For a few days this meant there were 12 children at school, with 6 teachers and one teacher aide. My suggestion to make the most of it by taking turns to teach and the teachers taking part in a professional development workshop were sadly ignored. It resulted in a very boring week!
Now that Swine flu is out and about Tokelau has taken steps to protect itself from it reaching here. There is now a one week stand-down period in Samoa for anyone wanting to travel here. Luckily for us it is no longer two weeks. We are returning to NZ for holidays shortly, and two weeks in Samoa on our return back here isn't our idea of a good time. In fact, nor is one week, but it will give us a chance to go to Big Bear (Samoan equivalent of Briscoes) to buy some plastic buckets and so on.
For your information, if you ever come to Tokelau to stay for a while, make sure you bring buckets with lids! No one told us this vital information. When buying flour and rice they are vital to try and keep the weavils and other creepy crawlies out. At the shop the only way to buy a bucket is to buy a massive tub of crackers... then you have to eat them all before you can use the bucket. I like to use them for my maths lessons and then let the kids eat them!!! I never want another cracker so long as I live!!
Matt and I, weeks later, still have a pesky cough. We think it is because of the dampness and termites that infest the walls of our house... yes, lovely! We hope that we won't be held up too long at Auckland Airport suspected of Swine Flu!
Anyway, I hope this is enough for now! We'll be back in chilly ol' NZ at the end of the month. For any of you in Chch or Blenheim we'll try and make sure to see you!!!
Take care, over and out!