Friday, February 13, 2009

Doing Health Lessons Like It’s My Job

Dec 15-16, 2008
There has been a myriad of reasons why I haven’t been doing regular health lessons just yet. But that changed this week when I finally did an introductory health lesson at the madrasa (primary school). There are 240 kids at the school and I give the lessons to about 30 kids at a time. So on consecutive days, I’ve planned to give the same lesson several times over.
It went better than I could’ve asked. I started out by introducing myself to the kids and talking about what we’ll be doing in my classroom. It was sort of funny to some of them because a lot of them know me as the American girl who lives in their douar (or used to). So they came in and were asking me what I was doing in their school.
We talked a little bit about health and then I asked them to draw pictures of things they do to stay healthy. It was a good, easy introduction, but it also gave me an idea of where their knowledge of general health is at this point.
I was a little nervous the first time that the kids wouldn’t understand what I was asking or expected, or that they’d misbehave. This would be a huge problem since I’m not a disciplinarian and will let kids in a classroom get away with murder if it’s amusing enough. But the first session went well and by lunchtime the second-years were all inviting me over for lunch at their houses. We drew pictures of healthy foods and sports, and the mosque in my douar.
From here I’ll work on a full-length schedule of lessons that addresses the specific health concerns of my community. My sbitar staff will be especially helpful in this because they’ve lived here so long and know the community really well. My tentative plan is to create some sort of yearlong program that can be used by the teachers. The Ministry tells us that Health is supposed to be taught in the schools according to their mandates, and I think a big part of my role here will be to help make that happen.
At the next Ministry of Health meeting in January, I’ll have some numbers to put on the report I turn in! Yay!

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