I really do feel like I’ve taught my students all sorts of wonderful but useless things. In my very first lesson with Class 4 (which, by the way, feels like a million years ago) I taught them what a narwhal is. You know, those whale-type creatures that have a horn like a unicorn? Everyone needs to know that! And the science behind a sunburn. (“Madam, you are no longer white. You are red! Why?”) And that a cold day in Ghana is like a hot day back home.
But the most important thing I’ve taught them is Creative Arts. This week has been midterm exams. Last term I gave them tests on the principles of design, art knowledge, etc. How boring. I clearly hadn’t figured out yet what Creative Arts is all about. This time I gave all my classes a blank sheet of paper. And they drew whatever they wanted.
When I first arrived I liked Creative Arts, but wished I was doing something more. Which I got to do. I’ve taught a variety of things as well as taking on the younger kids Creative Arts and Library classes as well. And yet, somewhere along the line, I’ve fallen in love with teaching Creative Arts. I’ve always said that education is the key to a kids future. I still believe that. But there’s more to it than that. Creative Arts lets kids just be kids. My school is an amazing school and it absolutely prepares them for whats next. But school is all about the results, and the memorization, exercises, homework, and project work to obtain the best possible marks. When people ask me how the school system is different from ours back home it’s a simple answer: back home is way more interactive.
So that is why my exams were blank pieces of paper. Ready to be drawn on, coloured, and designed. And I was impressed. Not only did they draw, but a bunch of them decided to use my origami book and fold their papers into all sorts of things, and then colour that instead. Finally, some creativity!! These kids are amazing; their enthusiasm never fades. I have 10 days left. I seriously have no idea how that happened.
But I’m leaving with a sense of accomplishment, a sense of goals met. My time in Ghana has literally been nothing like I would of expected. But I can’t for the life of me remember what I thought it would be like. What I know now: I want to come back one day.