Activities, Gym Life, Interests, Lifestyle, my adventures, Teacher Problems

Life in the Wake of COVID-19

South Africa’s president announced a state of disaster in light of the then 61 reported cases of COVID -19. He announced the closing of schools and limiting most workplaces to working from home and limiting movements elsewhere. This past Monday he escelated it to a lockdown of the country. We cannot leave our houses unless it is an emergency. Only supermarkets are open for emergency food runs as of tomorrow. We have seen the number of cases rise to over 500 more cases since over initial announcement and life has changed drastically – in exciting ways but also in ways that are scary.

Social Distancing

Work

My particular school has remained “open” for the next 2 weeks in order to finish off the term. Dem Boys were sent home and we have been running online classes for the past week. the up side to the virus is that it has put education in a position where the use of technology in classes is now a necessity and not just another fun option. All those conferences are starting to pay off as I put what I have learned to practice all day, every day. It sounds ideal to be able to work from home, especially when that alarm goes off in the morning and the thought of navigating heavy traffic looms, but I take my hat off to those who have been living this life for a long time!

My cottage is now my home, my gym and my work space and all of a sudden, it feels tiny! I should be grateful though. Just last year, I live in a 1 bedroom that was much smaller. I would’ve gone crazy if I was still there! But now, my home is a little more spacious and I can compartmentalise my life here.

A tip? Even though you will not be leaving the house during the day, get out of bed, shower and get into your normal morning routine. Make the bed, pick an outfit and have your breakfast before your work hours start. It has helped me to get into work mode. Also, designate an area of your abode to work and play. I only run my classes in my study and leave it when my classes are done for the day.

Play

I’ve started doing home workouts instead of going to the gym and while HIIT workouts are kicking my ass, I’m still physically active without the anxiety of possibly infecting those around me or being infected myself. Again, routine is key, even though the geography has changed quite a bit.

I am a social butterfly so the lack of human interaction has been very difficult, especially because I live alone. Fortunately, I have a small village of people in other areas of the building. Tiny feet patter above me with occasional giggles or the frustrated tantrums of a toddler with cabin fever. Wifi and all kinds of social media, keeps me in contact with my loved ones which takes the edge off my own cabin fever. I attended my first online church service on Sunday which was strange, but it still amazes me that we can still keep in touch with our various communities in this manner. I am not alone because many all over the world are having to adjust their lives the same way I have to.

https://www.covidvisualizer.com

We have no way of knowing how much worse this situation will get, but I believe we are now responsible to each other. Our lives are in each others’ hands if we are to overcome COVID 19. So do the right thing, for yourself and for the rest of the world. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if we do. Have a good week dear ones and by all means, please stay safe😘

Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Teacher Problems

Dem Boys

Happy Wednesday erbody! I’m sorry I left you in the lurch over the past week. It would be an excuse to say I’ve been too busy because I do believe that you make time for that which you love and hold in high esteem and you are both of those things to me!

You may know this already, but I started a new job this year. While it has been a huge adjustment, I have decided to take every new challenge in this new environment as it comes and not to allow myself to get overwhelmed. But It has been difficult to put into words what I have been experiencing; I will do my best today, though.

As of 2020, I am an English teacher at a boys’ school. Yes, the only girls I see during work hours are my female colleagues. I can’t tell you what I was expecting this would be like, but here are 3 differences I have found so far:

Boys will be boys

I’ve heard it said before that boys never grow up; their toys just get more expensive, but these words have never rung truer than they do for me right now. Whether a boy is in 8th grade or 12th grade, he is the same: a goofy, giggly, talkative bundle of energy that you must force to bounce on a yoga ball so that he can stay focused during class! Everything is funny in an all-boys classroom! There is no restraint because of girls they’re trying to impress ( No, I don’t count as a girl they’re trying to impress!). The all-boys classroom is rowdy and if you don’t have them busy writing and giving you feedback from the word go, then you will end up frustrated at the seemingly chaotic environment. I’m still figuring it out but so far, it has helped to start the lesson off by having them take down notes. The minute the chattering starts, I skip to the next slide. It seems that I need to metaphorically grab them by the face and point them to that lesson’s outcome.

What work ethic?

My friend, who is also a teacher at a boys’ school warned me of this one. If dem boys had things their way, every single period would be a free period! The grade 9s ask me every day! I’ve learned to laugh it off while they shrug as though to say, “well, I tried”. If dem boys can push a deadline for an assignment, they will- on the day it is assigned! There is no eagerness to work and no panic about covering the work in the future. Dem boys live in the moment and in the moment, chilling is the order of the day!

Get over it

This is my favourite difference about teaching in an all-boys school. They don’t take you or your reprimands personally. Sure, dem boys push boundaries. They may suggest that you are being unfair, but most of the time, their intension is to get out of working or trouble with you. If you call their bluff, they smile sheepishly and let it go because they know that they were merely taking a chance. I’ve lost it once or twice with them, but they have been quick to apologise. Dem boys don’t hold grudges. I don’t get side-eyed two days later and I don’t worry as much about being liked because, ultimately, whether they like me or not, they keep things moving. I like that.

I don’t understand everything about working with dem boys yet. It’s going to take me this whole year to at least settle in, but this is what I wanted: a new challenge, new ways to hone my craft, to test and validate my ability and I’m in for a quite an adventure!

Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Teacher Problems

What’s in a Name?

New Colleague: Hi there, what’s your name?

Me: Noloyiso

New Colleague: Loyiso?

Me:No.lo.yi.so

New colleague: Noyoliso! Welcome to the school!

If you are a black South African working in predominantly white spaces, this is often the conversations you find yourself in upon arrival. Kids born pre-Apartheid often had an African name and a “Christian” name. The latter was ( and still often is) used at school and later on when you go into the work world. My parents gave all their children one African name. I’m grateful for this because African names tell our stories. When you call me Noloyiso, you declare me Victorious ( the meaning of my name – I was my parents’ first daughter) so, knowing how to pronounce my name is extremely important to me.

I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, I didn’t always think about it at all. In 5th grade, I started at a new school and my new teacher decided that Noloyiso was too long opting to call me Nolo instead. I thought nothing of it at the time and I grew up being called Nolo and introducing myself as Nolo.

Over the past decade maybe, the question of my name has bothered me. Because I introduced myself as Nolo, this trickled down to me being Nolo Lange on official documents and on professional platforms. To an extent, this was my fault; I did introduce myself by my casual half name after all. A new job is an opportunity to reinvent yourself, to be something you were not in the past and so I decided that I would change how I introduced myself at my new work environment.

Listen, it’s exhausting: correcting people and even saying my full name over and over ( 4 syllables is a lot!) But it is my name, my story and I want to tell it. I really appreciate those who have asked its meaning because the appreciation for my name deepens once they know. And no, I don’t have a problem being called Nolo, as long as you know what it’s short for and thanks to social media, those closest to me are in the loop without the elaborate explanation!

So, I guess what I’m saying is this: don’t take African names for granted. They tell ours and our families stories. We learn how we came into being and the situations we were born into. My friend Baxolise says our names are the tasks set out for us by our parents going into the world and it is a huge undertaking. Saying a black person’s name is acknowledging that, reminding them of that and that is important.

Thank you so much for popping in! It’s always lovely to have you here! Have a beautiful week😘

Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Teacher Problems

Brand

The New year is filled with many expectations: sometimes those we put on ourselves and other times, by the proverbial society. As, Beaton, a fellow blogger shared in a recent post, January is an entire month of Mondays, and we spend it struggling to find our rhythym for the year after a December of Fridays. And to answer your question, Beaton, You stop saying Happy New Year at the end of January unless you’ve seen everyone you know by then!

In other news, I finally start a new job tomorrow! Yes, after 6 years, I decided it was time to move on to a new school. Now if you’re a teacher, you know that when you make a move like this, it usually takes a very long time to actually move. Teachers are generally asked to give a term’s notice in order to give your current school a chance to find your replacement. I respect this, and so far in my career, I have honoured this practice which I am grateful for. Having that bridge left still standing allows there not to be any animosity.

The down side to this practice is the 4 month wait, the millions of last goodbyes and tiny baby steps one takes when moving to a new environment. I’ve been asked since September if I’m looking forward to my new job, but I honestly think it will only hit me tomorrow morning when I’m driving in the opposite direction to where I used to for the past 6 years.

“Friend, my concern is your brand! I want you to flourish!”

My friend, Helena said this to me the other day when we got to talking about plans for the new decade and it got me thinking about myself as a brand. I never really thought of myself that way at all. Sure, I’ve written plenty a bio on a social media platform or for a workshop I was running, but I really listed the stuff that I do and left it that.

But I’ve also recently met a number of people who have a personal brand and I think it’s incredible to see how these people embody their brand in everything they do and say. They trully live what they are about and own it to the fullest. I’d like to be like them this decade and for the rest of my life and this lesson comes right on time with the change of jobs and new decade that lies ahead. I now have an opportunity to reinvent myself, enahance what’s good and already there, and change what is not.

I’m a bit anxious to start what I have sought out to accomplish now. Wish me luck! Thank you so much for popping in today! It’s always apleasire to have you here! Have an amazing week😘

Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Ramblings, Teacher Problems

Invigilation

I don’t know if it’s the hours spent walking aimlessly around a room full of stressed students or if it’s the year drawing to an end, but this is my life right now! It seems like there is plenty of time but time is such a tricky thing.

While I pace up and down the isles, I think about all that lies ahead; in the next few hours, the next few weeks, the next few months.

Have you accomplished everything you strived to this year? Does it feel like it’s enough? It never really does, if you ask me. But being content is key. The balance between knowing that there is still time to make changes, to make a U-turn and try a different route. There is still time for new adventures and new challenges. But also knowing that tomorrow is not promised and one must make the best of what is here and now.

Invigilation is the overthinker’s playground; it is my playground.

Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Teacher Problems

Fail Better

Good evening erbody!

I’m so sorry, I didn’t show up earlier. This week was heavy and writer block came at me fast! I got my second wind just now and had checked in with you before bed!

In the spirit of focusing on the good, today, in my English class, we spoke about failing. My kids hate failing tests! I have been giving death stares and teary begging as a result of marks they were dissatisfied with. And so they struggle to wrap their heads around the idea of failing over and over before experiencing success.

This particular class happens to also comprise of my under 15 netball team. When they had a different coach last year they lost all 5 of their league matches save for 1 and this season seemed to look like it was heading in the same direction.

Today they played on astroturf with a net overhead – a complete change from an open clay court; they would be uncomfortable.We focused a great deal on short and shoulder passes to prepare for the game and their hard work paid off – they won their second game for this year’s league – one more than they did last season!

Now, we still have 2 more games so it still remains to be seen how they will perform overall, but I cannot explain to you how excited they were about today’s win! No matter how they fair in the remainder of the season, they still won a whole TWO games!

Today my girls learned the victory that lies in failing better. They are by far not the best in the league but they made progress today, and progress is triumph in itself!! I am a very proud coach!

I hope that even in the heaviness you experience in your life that there is light too. I hope you have blessings to count every day!

Thank you for popping in, even though I was late. I appreciate your continued support! Have a beautiful week and I’ll chat to you on my birthday!!!