A New Adventure

My teaching life begun over twenty years ago, and I continue to learn, adding to my repertoire. I must confess, I have spent some time this holiday, thinking about a new experience that is coming my way or one I am walking into.

To me, this is a worthy challenge and I see many benefits to it. However, it is a new arena for my show, so there is the little bird whispering doubts into my ears. Those doubts I am using as opportunities for me to learn and grow. I am looping with my fourth graders to fifth grade. The day my fourth grades were informed there was a rumbling, exciting sound, I was touched. Many parents sent emails to acknowledge our continued relationship for the next school year.

In the past, a few of my early year students met me in second grade and some of my second graders in fourth grade. I on the other hand agreed to move with my students as a challenge to myself and to live out of my comfort zone.

For this year in particular, I believe most teachers experienced this too. My students and I, traversed the online, on-campus learning together. We were Zoom buddies and became masked buddies. We lived through the changes together; online schedules and lessons, online parent conferences, online assessments, online morning meetings and more.

Whenever I hear of the upsurge in the Covid numbers my heart skips a beat. I am really hoping we can all be on-campus this school year and learn, enjoying our learning spaces together, masked up; I guess.

I have spent sometime this holiday pondering over my new scope and sequence for the different subject areas and thinking about the individual students (as I know most of them very well). This new year is going to be quite an adventure and I am looking forward to.

The Break

We dipped our feet in the cool water.

The beautiful blues met our eyes, the clean smell of the ocean was well received. The coarseness of the sand, made for firm steps.

Volta Region, Ghana, West Africa

Better bare foot, I thought and quickly took off my rubber sandals. Stamping and moving forward, I found the right spot to lay my mat. The sun had gone down as we waited to visit in the late afternoon.

The vastness of the ocean always enchanting. The beach tough was something else. The sand, a light shade of brown almost golden gave the whole place a rich, glow. This was a quiet beach, a few people strolling up and down. It was also distinctive as it was high up and the ocean was a few feet lower. I thought this was special as some of the beaches I have visited needed a defence to block the water from riding up and damaging property.

We sat, enjoyed the peace, watched the waves move back and forth. This was a needed break, so serene. Hidden from the masses, a good place to reflect and relax.

The teenagers stayed and puddled whilst I rested with my book and soaked in the environment.

That Dream

Do you remember your dreams?

This particular one, was vivid. I remember wearing a ‘fugu‘. There were two other people with me. In the dimly lit room, it felt as if we were on the top floor of an apartment block, high up above the rest. I’m glad I woke up after the dream to write down what I could remember.

It all seemed surreal, as if there was going to be a contest of sorts. A challenge, competition or a performance? Was I to be a contestant?

Whatever contest I dreamt about seemed well established. I remember the scene in the mysterious room very clearly. If I was an artist I would have drawn exactly what I saw. I had good feelings about the situation whatever it was. I really wanted to participate in it, I seemed ready.

I have been thinking about the dream and took it upon myself to look for connections or clues to help me understand it. I asked my friends the symbolism of a ‘fugu’, a hand woven kaftan-like smock from Northern Ghana, I have never worn one before. Their interpretation of what a ‘fugu’ symbolises is; culture, identity, freedom, equality and royalty. I also remember the outfit being won by one of the great warriors of the Asante kingdom. In the dream was I just like her? Dreams can be confusing and interesting. This is one I will ponder about for a while.

Walls and Lawns

Excited about the sights and sounds around me, I embrace the landmarks, scenes, crowds and stories where I live.

Most of the roads in my neighborhood are quite wide and surrounded by beautiful houses. The buildings on either side of the road have stunning walls and lawns. There must have been a trend many years ago, as most of the houses have a mini lawn spanning the length of the land, adorned by two or three tall palm trees. At the edge of the mini lawns, you sometimes find tufts of plants that flower throughout the year. Making the neighborhoods colourful and spectacular.

I remember my mother narrating the story about their (my parents) decision making whilst designing our childhood home. She told us many years ago, how they drove around many of the residential areas in the late 60s to savor the beautiful buildings in the city at the time. I remember her sharing how they made a decision of their choice of building, walls and lawns because of what they noticed. She mentioned how the houses they saw were hidden behind large tropical trees with lush grounds. We were intrigued when she recounted their drive around in the evenings, so they were not noticed. Their evening trips were not so fruitful as they could not see much because of the long drives leading to the homes. What they noted though, was the distinctive walls and lawns which they definitely copied.

Our childhood home, I remember, had a raised lawn outside and a half wall decorated with chipped stones. The top of the wall had an interesting metal arrangement. There was a coiffed hedge by the wall, at the side of the house which was full during the rainy season.

Since my mother’s narration, I have consciously taken an interest in the different walls and lawns in any of the residential areas I visit. I have noticed a wide variety of walls and lawns in the residential areas I have visited mainly in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. Proud house owners design the most impressive walls and take advantage of the many colourful tropical plants to adorn their surroundings.