Well, we made it back safely to the U.S. yesterday, and it’s safe to say that all of us were incredibly sad to leave Ghana and Heritage Academy. The kids were all so wonderful, and there were some tears from a few of our group members and a few Heritage students at our farewell on Monday.
The last week of teaching for me was, in general, great. Most of the children finished up their books, and those that are finished have a permanent place in the Heritage Academy library. Given the fact that practically none of these children have ever taken an art class before, many of them can draw extremely well. The only thing I found surprising, and a little annoying, was that the children couldn’t figure out how to share the materials I had gotten for them (colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, etc…). I would have expected this from much younger children, but certainly not from 13-14 year olds. Seeing as that was really the only problem that I had to deal with in my class, I’d say the entire teaching experience was definitely positive. I am especially proud of my J1B class (7th grade), who are (because of test scores) classified as the more remedial of the two J1 classes, because their work ethic is significantly higher than any other group of students I have met. Not only did all of the students in J1B finish their work by Friday afternoon, but they managed to do it all in fewer class periods. Some of the students in that class even finished their books the night that I assigned them. Although I think that I’ve known this for a while, it was great to see an example, showing that test scores don’t always reflect intelligence and that a hard work ethic is probably one of the most important tools to have in life.
I took pictures of all the books that the children made so that I could remember what they looked like, and I will post some of them on this blog soon, so that you all can read and enjoy them as well.
In addition to teaching, we have also been working hard to make the cinderblocks that will eventually be used to build the secondary school (high school). We made a total of 315 blocks in our short 2 week visit, and according to T. Kwesi the secondary school will be up and running this September, just in time for the new school year.
Again, we were all heartbroken that we had to leave after such a short time, but I can guarantee that many, if not all, are planning on going back as soon as possible.