A student at the Avans University of Applied Sciences
I got on a plane from Amsterdam to Cape Town South Africa on 2 February at 10:00 AM and landed 11 hours later. When we arrived we first had to stand in line for passport control. That took us 1 and a half hours. But when we got through all of that and the rest of the stops on the airport. We finally met Chris. A teacher who would assist us while we visit Cape Town. He brought us to our first home in Belville Tyger Waterfront. We had a few days to adjust to the environment.
On the 4 of February, we met all the other students who were participating in the Caso program. They were from all over the world. Finland, Belgium, The Netherlands and South Africa of course. In the beginning, all countries were divided on the table but after a few drinks, the ones who left over came together. There were people who stayed even longer than me. The first Monday we started with a lesson about social media. That was quite strange because we were all nursing, physiotherapy or social work students. But after a few days, we understood what the meaning was of all of this. We had to promote the CASO program on social media and of course we could do that now in the right way. We also were divided into groups for the CASO program. The photo next to the text was our group!
The rest of the week was also filled with lessons. Like, interprofessional collaboration and community development, project management and recreational and cultural programs, recreation and cultural programs, empowerment, cultural diversity and Pedagogy of physical activity in schools. We also visited PS4L where I had to do an internship after the 2 weeks intensive program. On a Friday and a Saturday we did something fun with all the CASO group together. We went crocodile diving on Friday and also visited a lion’s park. This is a photo of me and the crocodile as you can see I am scared of him. But I was not eaten by a lion or a crocodile. On Saturday we went to a wine farm. This was really nice to get to know each other better. At the first farm, I tasted some wines did a photo shoot like all the Chinese people who were walking around on the wine farm and tasted some chocolate. On the second farm, we tasted goat cheese and some other really good wines. We all had a lot of fun.
On a Monday we started with the planning of the program. At the beginning of the week, we figured out that the first plan we made at home was quite a good beginning so we finalised this one. In the afternoon we made the presentation which we finalized in the evening. This is was the PowToon presentation. You can see it on the Google site. If you can’t get into the google site and you want to see it you can alleys contact me of course. On a Tuesday we presented our PowToon presentation to the class. After the presentation, we got feedback, which we incorporated in our pilot plan. We also visited the school on this day. So we could see which equipment the school had and what we still needed. In the afternoon we went to Charlie’s bakery and after that to the hospital where the first heart transplant took place. Wednesday we could pilot our program at the Harold Crissy high school. We did a good job and almost all feedback we received was positive. So we were happy. The students were also glad that they had learned something from our games. We also visited a rugby game with almost whole the group. We had a good time.
Thursday we visited the APD in Drakenstein. This is a place where people with disabilities can develop their skills. They also get help with finding work and be able to care for themselves. The people who are participating in this program are mentally and/or physically disabled. It was beautiful to see how they loved the work and the things they did. They also liked to tell us about the things they do. There where people working with pack etching. There were seamstresses who made lovely bags. And there was a creative club who made different beautiful things. I bought a surprise blikkie to support this group. On the last day of the intensive program, we presented our final plan to all of the teachers. This went very well I was not nervous to speak English. I was less nervous actually than when I have to present in Dutch. I know that my English has to improve. But I did a good job out there. We also got some South African vetkoek. It is like a Dutch oliebol with vegetables and a lot of meat in it you can also add cheese or get rid of the meat if you are a vegetarian. The only thing is that it is not sweet like an oliebol.
We started the school week on Tuesday, we had one more day to move to our new apartments and settle there. We went to PS4L and got some more information about our internship. We divided ourself’s in pairs and we choose a school. We, Mikko and I choose the same high school. And we started to make a lesson plan for the next day. On Wednesday we started at the school but not yet the one we selected. I went to Facreton primary school with Thomas, Teun and Ellen. We had a fun day. We played 10 balls, dodgeball, cat and mouse tag, football and did jump ropes. All the kids were really enthusiastic. Before we left we all got hugs from the little kids.
Thursday I went to the poorest primary school in the neighbourhood because they were still not expecting us at the high school. We only had grades 1, 2 and 3 today. So all children were super cute and small. We got hugged a lot again. Someone asked what kind of money we pay in our country. So we showed them some euros. They were so energetic and sometimes liked making jokes and weird faces. But you also saw that they needed more attention so they kept on hugging us and we kept on hugging back.
Monday we didn’t start at our own school either, though the rest did; luckily for them. So we first went to the coaches meeting. After that, I went to Windemere because Jurian was sick so I could take his place for today and help their coach out. We played soccer and netball. I did the soccer part with the boys. They were surprised when they saw that I could play a little soccer. We had lots of fun! Tuesday Jurian was still sick so I went to his school again to help the other coach out. I could do that because there were still problems with arranging a school for me and Mikko. They could not come to an agreement. And everything in South Africa is taking a little bit longer than in Europe, but they try their best. We did the same as the day before Soccer and Netball. I also got a ‘sucker’ I had to call it like that the cafeteria lady told me, but actually it was an ice cream. Wednesday I went to Windemere again but this time with Jurian. We played soccer and netball except for the grade 6 they did cricket. The grade 2s also did something different. We did jumping ropes, running games and some other games with them. The kids also love it when you take selfies with them. Thursday I went to Kenmere with Margo, Neele and Mikko. Because we wanted to see what was expected of us next week and they started already because there was a school available for them. We did a true or false game with healthy and unhealthy statements a warm up with animals and Chinese football for the lower grades. Instead of the Chinese football, we played dodgeball with the higher grades.
My first week at my own school together with Mikko. The first day we made the most important people for us, the principle and the LO teacher Michelle and Coach Mellissa. In the beginning I had some difficulties with the names because they were so similar. The first day we didn’t have to give any lessons. We could make our own planning which classes we wanted to take for the rest of the week. We had to arrange this with Michelle. We also got some books from her which we could follow and that we knew what they were talking about in the lessons. Based on these books we started to write our lesson plans for each grade for the rest of the week. Tuesday we couldn’t start our first lesson because of a communication error. We were told that we could give the lesson to the 11c but they forgot to tell Michelle that they had to write a test. Not so funny at that moment but when I think about it now pretty funny. Our second class was the 8f and they were present. We did some trust exercises with them like the blindfolded obstacle course, trust fall, kings of queen chair and standing up and sitting down with two persons at the same time with the backs to each other. The last class from that day were the 9b’s we did a game with the food pyramid with them. First, they were divided into food groups and had to find their food what was supposed to be in their group in the box. They had to run to the box. After that, we had some questions. The answers were one of the food groups. After I asked the question they had to run to the right food group.
Wednesday we had 9f and 8c, we did the same as Tuesday with the same grades. We also had the 12 f. With them we did fast walking. Because we wanted to know how their condition would be with average exercise and what they would think about their condition. After that we had a fun game to finish with- it is called Pepsi, Cola, Fanta or Sprite. We call one of this drinks each drink represents a side of the line you have to stand you have to jump to the side of the line. If you jump wrong or in a wrong way you are out.
Thursday we got the 12c classroom and did the speed walking again with this group, they were more fanatic than the group of yesterday. I liked this group because they were enthusiastic. Also because they listened and behaved so well we had time, so we could not only do the Pepsi, Cola, Fanta or Sprite game but also teach. The second lesson was with 10f. We did a circuit training with them so they could find out how strong they are. We did wall sitting, running between cones 10 meters apart, touch the nose 3x 10 times, lunges, burpees and backwards push-ups. It was hard for me to give this lesson because it was the first time I had to do it alone. Mikko and Michelle had to go to the hospital with a learner who hit her head in the last tach game. But I managed to do it and after the lesson, I was really proud of myself. Although it was hectic. And also the girl who was hurt is fine now and is attending school again. I was worried about her.
The second week at the school was different than planned. Because of the exams there were lessons we could not give and there were some extra lessons were we were not adequately prepared for. The lessons plans we did this week were those from grades 8, 9, 10 and 11, we didn’t had any 12 classes. With the grade 8s we measured their strength. Before they started the exercise we told them the average score of Dutch teen girls of their age. So they could compare it with something. The exercises they did were Pushups, Squats, Sit-ups and Jumping out of standing position. With the grade 9s we did some balance exercises. First move leg to the front after that to the left and then to the back, after that the same with eyes closed. The next one was with two persons. You face to each other. Your left feet against the left feet of the other person. You grab the other person’s wrist and try to outbalance each other. The last balance exercise was also in pairs. Both people had to squat down with your hands you grab your ankle. In this way you have to outbalance each other again with your shoulder. The lased exercise was a relaxation exercise. They had to lay on the ground and I would tell a story. About a beautiful place they could ever imagine. We got really good reactions on that one. For the grade 10s we did cardio boxing some of them were not so enthusiastic about it or did not like it because it was too warm. But there were also learners who participated very well. One of them asked if I had video’s somewhere so she could follow at home. I was a little bit proud of myself when she asked that. The grade 11s got the same as last week because they didn’t get there lesson. We did running testing, 20 meter running dash. After everybody did that we did a tag game.
This week I started with a bad Monday, I was still sick so I didn’t go to the high school. It started on Sunday but I could not do anything about it. At home I did some stuff for school I did the assignments etc. By Tuesday I was a little bit better. So I decided to go to the high school again. Luckily we only had 2 lessons. We did some handball with them. It was hard because we do not have the right ball. But the game for itself they liked. For our free periods, we were preparing for the following weeks as always. Wednesday there was a public holiday so we had free from school.
Thursday was Mikko’s his last day. Because of that, Mikko wanted that the learners chose the game they wanted to play. They could choose out of soccer, handball, basketball and netball. Eventually, they chose soccer and handball.
This week was vacation week; our school closed on the 26 of March and is open on the 11 of April again so we have a whole week off. From 3 April till 6 April we had a holiday program.
The holiday program during the school holiday: This week we had a holiday program from Tuesday till Friday. The first day I was playing soccer with every group who was with us. Just a soccer game. But at first we start every day with a warming up in a big circle. We did all kind of stretches, running exercises, muscular strength exercises and other fun exercises. When we were playing soccer we noticed that there were a lot of small children from 2-7 Years old who were too small to join. So I had to collect them and do games with them. It was really hard to let them understand the games or have them all listening. It was also hard because I was not used to do things with such small children. They keep on hugging you and they want your attention all the time. I only worked with high school students. The next day Nucci, luckily for me, took the smaller children and I did netball with Daphne. We did some warming up games to get used to catching and throwing and after that we played a game. All the children were enthusiastic. The next they I had the smaller children again. And I had still a hard time to make up games. Luckily I got help sometimes. I played Wolfje Wolfje, what time is it and Duck Duck Goose. The games were similar to Schipper mag ik over varen and zakdoekje leggen for the Dutch and Belgium people who are reading this blog. I was so tired after this day because most of the time I had to work with the small children alone they were about 30 or 35 and they wanted so much attention. When I got home I slept like the Sleeping Beauty.
The last day of the holiday program I helped with the hockey games. We were playing a hockey game and exercises. After every day we ended with something fun. So we sing a song Brabant that reminds us of our hometown Jurian and Teun did some rapping, one day we danced and the last day there were rappers who rapped about drugs awareness, it was the PS4L song. After every day the kids got some lunch to take home and a sweet drink. We got lunch too and I had a gatsby. Not a whole one of course because they are way too big. It was very tasty they put chicken some fries and sauce on a roll. It sounds not that good but it is! The last day we got some fried fish it looked like kibbeling withe also fries on a bread. It was really hot I didn’t expect that. I noticed that South African people really like hot and spicy food.
On Wednesday after the holiday break I was back at the Holy Cross high school alone without Mikko. I was afraid that it was going to be very hard. But I was lucky, they were even listening better with just me than when we were with two. I thought that was surprising! This week I had different lessons planned. For the grade 8s I had some target games like bowling, throwing in hoops looks like beer pong but without the beer and instead of a ping-pong ball a big ball and instead of cup hoops. I also played ‘cones’ soccer with them. Normally I do the same game back in the Netherlands but then with a bottle of water but because of the water restrictions, I used cones. You have two groups, both groups have cones. You kick the ball towards the cones of the other group. When you hit the cone you get one point. Then the other group can try to do the same. In the beginning they definitely did not get the game, but after explaining several times they did. The bowling speaks for itself, we got cones instead of ninepins and a soccer ball instead of the bowling ball. For the grade 9 and 10s, I had to explain to them what a proper warm-up was. I asked them what they do and what was the value of a proper warm up and to explain what it does to your body and why you have to do it. Some gave good answers to the questions and some had no idea. I also asked them, why there is a difference in warming up for different sports. I did a proper soccer warm up with them. Then I played a soccer game. After the game I asked the same question for the cooling down why do you have to do a proper cool down. I explained why they had to do it again and after that I did a proper warm up.
For the grade 11 and 12s, I did pretty much the same. The only extra thing I asked of them was two groups of 3 people each could make a proper warming up for next week and 2 groups of 3 people can make a cooling down for next week. From some, I got really good responses but from some not. I hope I do not have to do a lot next week with these grades. That will mean they did a good job!
This week I only got the grade 8s, who I did not get in week 10, so I did the target games with them as well. This is also the same with most of the grade 9 till 12s. The only group that I did another lesson plan with was a grade 12. They had to do their own warming up for netball. They did a pretty good job. They started with two laps. After that, they did some strategies and other exercises. After that they did something with running up and down when the whistle is going they had to stop on their leg they landed on and turn around without moving that leg. The same they need to do with netball.
Challenge day: On Monday I had my first try of the challenge day. I started with the grade 10 c. It was very emotional. There were a lot of girls who could answer the questions with yes every time. They kept on crossing. I was a little shocked by it. I already was thinking that there could be a lot going on in the classes but I didn’t think it would be this much. All the girls were very supportive to each other. I am really proud of them. After crossing the line they got the chance to say something to the class. This girls really inspired me. They were talking about that they had to make school fun for everybody because most of them have a hard time at home. So they have to be there for each other. I loved their responses. I got a lot of reactions that they were glad that they got the opportunity to do this challenge with their class. And I was really pleased to hear it. I want to thank the girls for their good responds.
Tuesday we also did the challenge day, the girls were very impressed again. Everybody was emotional. The first class, unfortunately, I had to do on my own without other teachers with me because most of them were late in the traffic because of a bus strike and the ones who were not late had to fill in for the ones who were not in school yet. The challenge day, however, went really well. They were listening very well to me but they should know how to listen to me and that the lesson was very serious because they were grade 11 so big enough to understand. Also, it had a big impact on them and I am glad about that. With the next lesson, luckily for me, I got more help from Miss Arendse and another intern. Coach made this lesson extra special because the girls had examples to look at. They like to find similarities between themselves and others. In the end, there was one girl saying although we are going through so much at home we have to try to be one big family in school. So we can support each other through this hard times. I really loved her sentences. It was really inspiring for all of us.
Wednesday is a hard day for me. because of the bus strike and because the taxis started to strike as well, Miss Arendse was not in time to get to school. So I started with a class where I didn’t prepare for. And they weren’t prepared for me as well. So it was a lesson without sport clothes. We had a dance lesson. We made a dance on Bruno Mars. With the next group, I had the same problem so also the same plan. When it was finally time to give the girls a lesson where I prepared for, there were two girls less to do the challenge day with, also because of the bus strike. I didn’t want to spoil it and to do it twice because I think it would not work that well anymore. The rest of the lessons became also dancing class!
Thursday they had exams the whole day. The planning was to do half of them yesterday but there were two less girls so they had to do them all today. So the only thing I did was watching if they did not talk or peeked.
Still Challenge day because of some delays With Bus strikes and taxi strikes and public holidays and exams. Time flies especially when you have a free day. South African people have a lot of free days. Tuesday it is workers day. So on a Monday everybody is also free. I do not know why. But I do not complain about it. Time to go to the beach for me! Wednesday I was so tired. Miss Arendse was sick today, normally we do the classes half-half. So I take them once a week and she takes them once a week. And when I am teaching she is all the time there. Today I took all the classes on my own. No wonder I am tired because this girls are taking energy out of you. I did challenge day with all of them. It works with all the classes except for one. But I am going to take them again and do the same next week when Miss Arendse is there. From the other classes I got so many good responses. Some people who thanked me. But also a lot of girls were speaking so beautiful about their class that they have to be there for each other and support each other. One wanted to say that she loved her classmates but when she wanted to say it, she started crying. I waited till she stopped crying and we screamed it through the microphone together.
Thursday Yes Michelle is back today! Lucky for me. The whole day was challenge day again. This time there were a lot of teachers involved as well. They all liked it very much. I liked it as well. I learned a lot about some teachers. And got some compliments again. I am still not good at receiving compliments. It is something that we talked about in the lessons the first week. It is hard to say just thank you. I feel like I am not the only one who have to get a compliment about this day, Michelle who helped me very well she have to get compliments as well. And do not forget that the teachers and the learners also have to get a big compliment because they were willing to participate. So when I am typing, I want to Thank them all! And of course, Thanking the whole school for having me. Otherwise, I couldn’t have done this either. I am glad that I have still a few more weeks left at The Holy Cross High school. I think I am going to miss the learners and the teachers so much.
Once in the 2 weeks I only get two classes. I started with a grad 8. The whole day was challenge day again. I hoped I would have been finished by know. But unfortunately, there is too much delay. But still enough time to give them all the opportunity to let them do the challenge day. And they responded very well again. Miss Andreas and uncle Lorands the concierge joined them with crossing the line part. At the end they were all talking so lovely about each other and their class again. One girls ended with the text you and we are all family so we have to try to be here for each other. Tuesday I had 2 classes again. They did the Challenge day already so I could go on with something else. They are going to make a training schedule in a group of 3 people. They could choose there owns sport and they have to use guide I made for them with things you have to remind and what is important with making a training schedule. I had girls who did Dancing, netball, kickboxing and basketball. The girls did a really good job today. And they created a lesson plan and implemented the things on the paper well. Thursday it is Ascension Day today. I am on a catholic school so the school is closed today.
Monday I was my day off because my family was visiting. Tuesday I went to school and Jelmer was with me and he helped me very well. The teachers and students were very enthusiastic and pleased to meet them. The students had to make their own trainings plan today. I saw exercises with hoops, Netball exercises, strength exercises and a lot more. They did this really well and they delivered their plans to me so I could give them feedback. On Wednesday I was alone again, unfortunately. The classes had to do the same as yesterday. Except for one class, the grade 8, I did aiming with them. They had to aim in the basketball nets and netball nets. My plan was to play a game afterwards but I had my first experience with a class not listening at me at all. I felt like a real teacher. And they drove me crazy so I had to get another teacher to help me with this kind of behaviour. What they did? There were kids who didn’t do the exercises that I asked them to do. It was really warm so the ones who did do the exercises they got the time to drink something. Then the others started to do something and I allowed them to go drink something as well. But it took them long to return so I went looking for them and caught them changing. I asked them what they were doing and their reaction was that they only had a few minutes to go so they thought they could change. The few minutes they were talking about were 15 minutes so ¼ of the time we get for every lesson. I don’t like to be mad or become mad but this time it was needed. Thursday they had to make their own lesson plan again. A few classes had to finalize their program with the feedback they got from me.
Monday was the start of my last week. I had only one class because the other class I normally teach had to finish some things before they have there exams. But luckily for me I have a lot of things for my assignments as well to finish up on. So I had enough to do. And I had to give feedback to the learners who did make the trainings plan. So enough to do for me. They group who I was teaching was a grade 8 but because it was raining, finally! we went inside the hall. They wanted to make trainings plan as well. So I let them. It is also easy to do in the hall. They did really good some were even better than the higher grades. I am really proud of them. After the lesson I had to find the classes who didn’t fill in the evaluation form for the second time so I could go on with my evaluation of the challenge day. On Tuesday there was a lot of typing again and two lessons. The first lesson we did netball because this class was ahead with the lesson plans and I liked to do something fun with them. So we did a sort of warming up. We played 10 ball. When they have to pass the ball around and the other team is trying to get the ball. After 10 passes around the team get a point. Then we played a game of netball. I had to count the evaluation forms as well and figured out that I was missing the answers of a whole class. So I had to look for the missing class. Quite a busy job because the forms were anonymous. So I burst into all the classes I didn’t go into yesterday and asked them again if they filled it in a second time. Eventually I found them and I could go on with my work. They second class chose to do some dancing. We danced to English music. Even though they didn’t know the Dutch songs they danced to that as well. Wednesday was a rainy day finally. But a bummer for me because we have to do the PE part in the hall and there are even less resources than on the sport fields. But I had only 2 classes today because the rest had to finish up some stuff with Miss Arendse. With the first class I had to do the training plans again. They needed to know because they were in grade 12 and they get questioned about it in their exams. After that I finely got the chance to do the challenge day with the 9f class again. They were doing so well and they were so kind to each other.
Thursday was my last day because the next week was exam time, and I was not allowed to come into school. The teacher who is guiding me said that I had to enjoy Cape Town and South Africa-now I still can! So I listen to her and booked myself a little trip for the next week. On my last it is was raining all day. Luckily for the Capetonians. They really need the rain. But for me it was a little bit sad. I could not go outside to play sport but I tried what I could to do the something active and fun in the hall. I know South African people love to dance. So we danced all day. They also wanted to sing songs. Most of the groups wanted to learn a Dutch dance. But I am not a good dancer. But I know one dance that was easy for me to teach them. Although I am not a real fan of hard core music I taught them how to dance to it. So we did a dance called hakken. It was new for them and easy for me to do. After that the girls taught me how to dance on their music. That was fun too. I also got a big surprise on my last day! Something I didn’t expect. They made a whole dinner with typical South African food and a cake. We had a lot of food because I made pancakes as a farewell dish. If that was not enough I also got presents. A box with a scarf, figurines and a nice card from the learners and Mis Arendse. And from the other teachers a card as well and 3 bottles of wine from Stellenbosch. They said such nice words about me I didn’t expect that either. I tried to say a nice word as well but I am not good in speaking to a big group of people. But I want to say that I love the way they supported me during my internship. That I got the chance to do everything I planned on. That they helped me to do and know better. That they were kind to me. That the learners were kind to me. And that I learned a lot from the way they are teaching and I hope I can bring it back home! On the end of this blog. I want to thank everybody who gave me the opportunity to come here to be part of such a nice school and team!
I hope I will see some or all of you again! Thank you for reading my blog about my experience in South Africa!
With kind regards, Evy Magielse Student on the Avans University of Applied Sciences.
I think I have to return back to The Netherlands now.