Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Report # 3

Time is flying by! Only 2 more weeks until I leave Tonga!

My project is going well. I only have 2 more people to interview and then I’m done! Things are a little challenging as I try to get ready to come home but things have generally gone really well. My time at Saineha High School has definitely been the highlight! I love it and am really sad that it is almost over. I was able to teach the students some of the lessons and even write a few of the tests. I have learned a lot about what it means to be a teacher and different techniques about teaching. One thing that I have learned is that you can only do so much for the student. They have to do some of the learning on their own. Many times I would teach a lesson and the students seemed to understand but then when it came to test day most of the students wouldn't even pass the easy test I made. Some of them did. It made me sad and a little down hearted cause I thought maybe I wasn't a very good teacher if the students didn't do well on my tests. But then I realized that you can only do so much as a teacher. The students have to study and learn the material on their own as well. It was a good lesson to learn and one that I will take into my teaching once I graduate and become a high school teacher.

This experience has taught me a lot of things and I am really glad I came down here to Tonga. I really hope to take what I've learned here and apply it to my life when I get back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Report #2

Things have continued to be one big adventure here in Tonga. I started volunteering at the local LDS Church high school and absolutely love it!! I work there 3 times a week working with the new PE/Health program they just started up this semester. I help Pasimati with anything she needs with the class. Last week I taught half of the class and she taught the other half of class. It worked out really well and I enjoyed teaching the students. It is a little bit challenging because even though the subject is taught in English most of the kids don’t understand or speak very much English. I gave them their first test and most of the kids didn’t do very well because I don’t think they understood all of the material. So my next goal is going to figure out a way for them to be able to understand and learn the material. Next week I will actually be taking over the class and teaching the Exercise portion of the class. I have planned the lessons and part of it is scheduled for outside play so the kids can actually participate in physical activity. I am excited though to be able to teach all the classes by myself but I am a little nervous. I love working at the school! It is so much fun to walk through the campus and hear all the students saying hi to me and wishing me a good morning or a nice day. I also get to interact with the teachers too and have learned a lot about different teaching techniques to use as well. It has been a good experience so far and I am really excited to see how the rest of it goes!

My project is also coming along. I started interviews at Saineha High School this last week with two of the teachers. They turned out really good but I realized that my questions need some work. They don’t really allow for any elaboration on the subjects but are mostly yes or no answers. So I need to work on my questions a bit before I do more interviews.

I think that might be all for now. Things really are going great and I absolutely love it here!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Report Number 1

Malo E Lelei from Tonga!

I have been here for almost 2 months now and things are going great. I am in love with my host family! They are so fun! Ofa (host dad) drives around rocking out tunes so we all jam along with him and the kids! We go to the beach once a week and go watch his rugby games on Saturdays. The family is a lot of fun! I am slowly making more friends. The language barrier is hard to deal with because we don’t know who speaks English and who doesn’t. But I am working through it and meeting more and more people.

My project is difficult to figure out when I first got here. I realized that the language barrier prevented me from doing informal interviews so perceptions of physical activity would e harder to recognize. But I did notice that physical activity is everywhere in the culture! Boys play rugby. Girls play netball. Everything in the Tonga culture has to do with some physical activity. So I kind of changed my project to observe the type of physical activity people get, how long and intense it is, and how frequent they do it.

I am also going to start volunteering at Saineha High School on Monday. I am going to help start up their Physical Education/Health classes for the lower forms. They have tried it before but it hasn’t ever stuck. Hopefully this time I can help the program grow and prosper. I was also able to help get PE/Health books down to them to help the school have something to teach from.

Well I think that’s it for now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Learning Journal 30

I feel like this semester flew by! I swear just yesterday I had decided to go to Tonga on a field study and here I am getting ready to finish the prep class and take off in about 3 weeks. It has been a crazy and stressful semester. I am glad it is over but the prospect of actually having to leave the country and go to a foreign land is still really intimidating. As the time gets closer for me to leave I get more and more excited but I still can't shake the feelings of nervousness and sometimes downright fear. These feelings stem from the fact that I have never been out of the country before I have very little experience with different cultures, and I have very little ideas of what it will be like once I get down there. This will be the first time I have ever been anywhere without a group of friends or family. Anytime I have ever been somewhere other than my home the other people I am with make the decisions and know what they are doing. I am going down to Tonga with a group but we will all be in different families and will basically be doing our own thing, making our own decisions, and don't really know what we are going to be doing. I have really been thinking about things down there and how I'm basically going to be by myself in Tonga. I will be alone to make my own decisions and do my own thing. It is a daunting task that many times has caused me to wonder if I can handle it. Many times I have had thoughts of "what am I doing? I can't do this!". I was talking to my roommates about a month ago and told them I couldn't do it, I didn't want to be alone. I was kind of having a bit of a break down actually. One of them told me that I won't be alone, that I'll never be alone. Heavenly Father will always be there watching over me. This really hit me hard. I knew this principle but I've never applied it like that. I know this sounds cheesy but I firmly believe in this principle. It gives me such hope and comfort and I feel a lot better about going to a foreign country. I know everything will be okay because I have the Lord on my side.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Learning Journal 29

So I had a really good chat with Dallin today about what to expect of my field study experience. He basically just said that it is going to be really hard. Trying to figure out how to live in a different culture is hard work. he said that feelings of wanting to go home are normal so is a little crying. He said not to think its going to be a party down there. There will be ups and downs and it will will be very challenging. While he was telling me this I was kind of having feelings of "oh boy what did I get myself into" and "am I going to be able to handle this" again. It kind of got me worried about trying to assimilate into a new culture. One of the things Dallin did say that really helped me was the part he said after the ups and downs. He said something to the effect of "just like life, it has its ups and downs too and you just have to get through them". I really liked when he said that. It made me think about all the trials and hard things I've had to get through to get where I am today Yes, they were hard but I got through them and even though they were hard the experience was worth it. I grew in so many different ways and learned so much because it was hard. I know these thoughts are a little jumbled and might be confusing but I think I've finally realized that even though a field study is a TON of work and as hard as it will get down there in Tonga, the experience will be worth it! So bring it on!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning Journal 28

So I have definitely been thinking a lot about service. Especially after listening to General Conference. I feel like a lot of the talks were about serving others and watching out for the needs of those around you. It made me think about how service is portrayed in our culture and how it might be different in a Tongan society. In our culture I think that sometimes service isn't readily rendered. Meaning that we either are too busy to notice someone to serve them or we feel awkward. I know I have felt this way many times. I see someone I could serve and then I don't serve them because I second guess myself and think they don't really need help. Or else I am just too busy with my life to notice. I feel like in many instances service requires a conscious effort. by talking to many Tongan's and other people that associate with them I have come to realize that service is just a part of their life. They live to serve others and are constantly watching out for others well being. In fact I met this Tongan and when I told him about my project he was already trying to find ways to help me with it. I am really excited to get into the culture and to truly learn from the Tongans.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Learning Journal 27

I have thought a lot about culture shock and how it will affect me while when I get to the field. I have thought about all the different things I might experience and what things will be different than what I'm used to. In the article, "Coping with Culture Shock" by Ferraro, it talks about all the many different aspects of culture shock that I haven't even thought of. It defines culture shock as precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing all our familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse. I read through a bunch of the items on the list and a lot of them I haven't even thought of. Things like how people meet each other, how they greet and interact with each other, and the rituals or other things they do that are different than what I am used to. I also didn't think about things like our humor being different. I mean I feel like a lot of people think I am funny and laugh at me. One of the things I love to do is make people laugh and I'm afraid that I won't be able to in Tonga. I think the best thing I can do for right now in preparing for culture shock is to not expect anything. Just do my best everyday and remember that I can do anything for a day.