Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tears all round

Well it was quite a big week in English this week. I had set up for my two classes to work on planning and presenting speeches, both as a break from all the writing we’ve been doing in preparation for the Written Expression exam (only about 4 weeks away now –gulp!), and also as a sneaky was of preparing for the personal writing piece that will be part of that exam. I gave the girls 3 topics to choose from:

1. My Role Model
2. My ambitions for the future
3. If I were PM for the day…

I wrote up the lists of names, in the order they were to present, and it went a lot faster than we thought – we got through most of them in the first double period, which gave the girls who thought they’d have more time a real fright! The speeches, even if short, were really interesting. It was also interesting to see who chose what to talk about. Lots of ideas about the future and their careers (I’m apparently producing a lot of air hostesses, lawyers and accountants – and even the first female Prime Minister of PNG!), and a few pretending to be PM, drawing their ideas from a lot of the work we’ve done recently on the various problems of Port Moresby

But the really amazing ones were the role model speeches. Almost all of them chose to talk about their mum or dad, and they were very emotional. In Purple especially, most girls had to stop speaking at one point because they were so upset (a lot talking about their mums raising them single-handedly, and the hardships they have been through), and a few girls had everyone in tears. We actually had to stop the lesson for 10 minutes at one point and let everyone go and wash their faces and calm down because one girl had every single person in the room crying their eyes out as she talked about her dad, who died 7 years ago. I don’t know how she got through her speech, but she did, crying almost the whole way though it, and with most girls with their head in their hands, and one girl sobbing her heart out just behind me because she lost her dad last year. God, it was incredible – I’ve never been in a lesson like it, either as student or a teacher, and was almost scared at one point, thinking ‘What have I done here?! What do I do now?’ But it was a really honest and touching and amazing experience to go through with them, and the girl who had presented the speech sat down and spoke again, saying she was sorry she’d made everyone cry but she wanted to let others know how important it was to tell your parents now how much you care about them because you don’t know how much time you have left with them. She also said that she was really glad she’d been able to talk about it – that our class was so friendly and caring and she felt like she was so happy and her marks had improved because the environment was so positive. So that was really nice, and brave of her – not only to speak about her dad, but to be so honest about her feelings and her reactions.

It was quite a double period.


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