Kenya, Teaching

For the past year and a half I’ve been working as a teacher at Holy Rosary College in Tala, Kenya. It has been a great experience but it was a bit nerve racking at first because I wasn’t prepared to be teaching classes. Over my time as a volunteer at the college I’ve taught five different units, for each of which I prepared my own course material. In the community-oriented spirit of open source I’ve decided to post my course notes online.

Unless otherwise noted, these fall under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. In a nutshell, you’re free to use them but…

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Kenya, Teaching

I’ve been back in Tala for a little over a week now. School was supposed to open on January 5th, but I was still in Ethiopia. I don’t know why it took me so long to notice, but last semester I noticed that neither the students nor the teachers report on time for school. Last semester we started two weeks late, so this time I stayed away for an extra week; nobody cared that I was a week “late” because most of the students and teachers still weren’t even around. Nonetheless, we finally sorted out the class schedule and time table and started today.

I’ll be teaching four classes this semester. Four! Count ‘em:

  1. Two units of Introduction to Programming and Algorithms
  2. One unit of Network Essentials
  3. One unit of Object-oriented Programming

I’ve taught the first two for the past two semesters so it’s not really a big deal, but the last one is a bit new. The course content isn’t so different from the other programming class I teach, but the students are two semesters ahead, so I have to try to cover the topics deeper. I’ve had to create my own notes for these classes so far, which is a pain in the ass, but I guess I did a good job because my students always pass.

Each class is supposed to have four hours per week, but there’s no way I can talk that much. Today I had two classes and I talked for one hour in each class. Two of the classes are with students who I already know from past semesters, but for the new students I always start by telling them, “Hi, my name is Alan. Not ‘Mr. Orth’ or ‘Sir,’ just ‘Alan.’” They like to add titles, but it bugs me. Although I found a gray hair on my head the other day, I don’t have a Ph.D and I’m not fifty, so I’d actually rather they called me “dude” than “Sir” or “Mr!” Hell, most of the students are around twenty years old, and I’m pretty sure at least two or three are older than me.

In other news I bought some new sandals in Tala market the other day. They’re made from recycled tires and they cost me a little less than a dollar. Haha. I had also bought a mop so people were laughing when I was walking home; I was wearing the “new” sandals and carrying my old ones in my hand along with the mop. I guess it’s pretty funny for a couple of reasons, chiefly because the tire sandals are very “local.” I hear that they last forever, though, and they’re tough so no thorns can poke through them. Alright!