Convent High School July 13 - July 17

Warning:  This is a long post.
Week 1
It has been a busy week here at Convent High School. Monday was a full day with the students. Devotions, which are led by the literacy, numeracy, special education, visual and performing arts or information and communication technology group, occur every morning at 8 sharp. Devotions conclude at 8:15. Devotions are held in the open area of the school. Each group decides what will be done. Generally there is a prayer, a reading or poem and two or three songs. The visual and performing arts group danced to a song. 

Teacher participants continue to filter in for class that begins at 8:30. Some of the participants arrive a bit later because they are coming from distances that require up to a two hour commute on public transit. Fortunately the union pays for their transport for the distance from their school to their home, or mid-distance between home and school if their school is close to Roseau.

The bell for break/snack rings at 10:30, but when the caterer is behind schedule the bell may not ring until 11 a.m. This is the time that participants and instructors alike demonstrate patience and flexibility. By 10:30 everyone is ready for a break, especially in the computer lab because no food or beverages are allowed. Break goes for 15 minutes and then we are back to class until 1 p.m. After class we spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours planning with our co-tutors and organizing photocopying. This is done at the school or the DAT office.

The ICT class has almost 50 people signed up, but many will not attend because there is another ICT workshop being offered elsewhere by someone from Alberta. There are 35 computers in the lab. Monday we did not have enough computers. By Friday, we had 2 or 3 extra computers. The official number on the attendance list is 42, but 5 have not come at all. So, the concern of having to share computers is no longer an issue.
Entrance to Computer Lab
Teachers Working in Lab

My partner had I have an agenda, but we are using it as guide more than a strict agenda. This week we have looked at the basics of a word processor, spreadsheets and slide shows. When we got to slide shows, the class was working so diligently creating that we put off the spreadsheets and let them experiment on their own, creating slide shows and interactive tests. They were helping each other and asking questions. Some of the advanced students were asked to create an interactive curriculum based slide show to use in the classroom with students and others were asked to start a blog about the workshops. They were given the most basic instructions. One slide show group lost their show and could not retrieve it. Another group did different types of families and another did global warming. The slide shows and the blog were shared with the class on Friday and are accessible to everyone on Google Drive. Next week we will look at using the Internet one day and leave the remaining days for viewing and creating integrated lessons both individually and in grade teams.

One of the afternoons was dedicated to the Public Service Commission. A representative came to talk to the teachers about the commission, transfers, pay, upgrades, etc. 

Friday afternoon was Canada-Dominica Day where all teachers rotated through 5 stations. Most of the students came dressed in red and white. We, the CTF teachers, wore our team shirts which were blue. One of the participants suggested that in the future the shirts be red or white. Brilliant! We led the activities with our co-tutors. We had a stations with dance, singing, Jeopardy, games and hiking across Canada. Each station was about 10 minutes. At the end of the activities we ate cake and watched Canada videos. There were requests for Justin Bieber. Love it!

Once work was finished for the day we zipped over to Fort Young Hotel where we spent the remainder of the afternoon by the pool relaxing and sipping rum punch (came with the entrance fee). 
Sunset at the Fort Young Pool

One afternoon we got back early to the hotel and decided to go to Mero beach. Getting there was interesting. We walked to the bus stop by the bridge and as we were walking to the stop 3 different drivers approached us trying to get us in their vans. One van did not have enough seats, so we got in the van beside that one because there were already people in it. We were going on the theory that the vehicle won't leave until it is full. When we got in the van, the two people who were in it got out. Hmmm. So then we moved to another that had room for 4 people, but we were 5. No problem. The two small children were squished in between the adults. Off we went. Well, I got into a bit of pinch with another passenger after I asked the price and said that we didn't want to be overcharged. One gentleman's response was that I need to believe in honesty and that Dominican drivers would not cheat us. Shortly after the bus driver chimes in and tells us that he does not overcharge. Yikes! Not making a good impression. I continued to banter with the man and shared that I had no intention of offending. With that, the older gentleman acknowledged that there are some drivers at the airport who overcharge. With that, all was in harmony again. Phew!

The beach was great. There were very few people there since it was a weekday. The water was cool, calm and clear and the sand was piping hot. The ride back to town was easy. An empty van rolled by just as we got to the main road.

Evenings were spent in restaurants. Dining can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Rarely is it less than a one hour affair. Fortunately the food is good and worth waiting for. Only once have I had food that was not tasty. Our favorite restaurants are Fusion and Fort Young. Service may be slow, but the food is great and there is some selection for vegetarians. There is also a shawarma/falafel restaurant that we like for take out. When we do take out we sit on the fifth floor of the hotel looking out at the stars and the lights. Life doesn't get much better! Thank you ETFO and CTF for this amazing opportunity.

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