Thumbs Up For Ramadan!

“So it took the collective efforts of quite a few people to produce this tiny little box of brochures: The U.S. Consulate had to make them; Peace Corps had to make them available to us PCVs; I had to have the idea and make copies; and the other teachers at my school had to suggest the best way to display them.”

These last couple weeks I’ve had a couple small projects going on.  All of them went fairly well I thought.  Whenever I start a project I’m never really sure how the students will respond, or the other teachers for that matter.  So it goes with just about everything.  In college I remember writing poetry that I thought was beautiful until I shared it in class.  Things tend to read differently with other people in the room.

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The first project was to make brochures for studying abroad.  During our Mid-Service Training conference there were a bunch of little things sitting on a table that were up for grabs, and when I saw the brochure an image came to me that was actually pretty similar to the above photo.  The differences were I thought it would go in the Library, instead of the Koperasi, and I didn’t picture the box being so colorful.  But that’s where teamwork comes in I guess.  When I asked my counterpart how she thought I should make the box, another teacher jumped up and offered to make it for me.  And when I said I thought the Library would be a good place for it, a couple teachers suggested the Koperasi, which does make more sense because the students go there more often.  So it took the collective efforts of quite a few people to produce this tiny little box of brochures: The U.S. Consulate had to make them; Peace Corps had to make them available to us PCVs; I had to have the idea and make copies; and the other teachers at my school had to suggest the best way to display them.  Pretty incredible it got done at all really!  Most importantly, the students have been taking them, and I’ve started wondering how I might expand the idea. 

ImageI was also able to get a couple things in the English Zone display case this past week.  The display was here when I arrived, but it’s always been empty.  Last year I put a couple pictures of Obama in there that disappeared after one day, which totally discouraged me from using it.  But this year I decided to give it another try.  I asked the president of the student body if it was okay if I put stuff in there, and he replied “bebas,” which means “free,” which I took as meaning it’s open to everybody.  I started off small, with an educationusa info flyer.  After one week it was still there, so I put up an ad for a photo contest called “Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports,” a poster of famous Muslim Americans, a quote from Obama about Ramadan, and a poll that says most Muslims think Americans are friendly.  The trick with this project is going to be to keep switching things up from time to time.        

ImageAnd for my second lesson I asked the students to make posters with information about Ramadan on them.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this.  Getting posters done for 5 classes of 40 students with everyone fasting and the schedule changing every day was absolute hell.  By the end of it I was definitely on my last nerve.  But we were able to get every poster finished and up on the wall.  The last class brought their posters to me yesterday when I was playing basketball.  I was so happy I could of cried.  Moments like that occur often in this toughest job you’ll ever love.

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