At 7 am we were in the classroom and ready to begin. The day was overcast and grey; not unlike England in that respect. The difference is that at 7 am it was already 28 degrees centigrade and about 75% humidity.
I felt enthusiastic to make a start back to teaching, but I was ultimately worried about the increasing temperature and how well class might go with groups of students who would rather be sleeping. There is no air conditioning in the basic classrooms. More to the point; there isn’t electric or walls. The elements are free to interfere as they please.
We only had a paltry 10 of 20 students show for class and they were not in a learning mood. It’s very hard to decide what to do faced with such a situation. Can we afford to take more time off because it isn’t worth teaching new material to so few students? If we push on and just keep going how detrimental will it be in the long run? We involve so many of the senses in our lessons that associating the future or past tenses with being lethargic, sweaty and drained would surely hamper learning. In fact, more to the point, I believe that forcing students (and teachers) to learn and teach in very unsatisfactory conditions may push them towards resenting the subject. Students will look back and remember the summer of English when it was so hot we thought we might explode and overtime we stood up our heads spun. This is not an association I want made with my preferred subject.
Walking home was exhausting. At 9:30am it was 32 centigrade with a hot breeze that felt like being blasted in a furnace. Everyone is losing weight simply on account of the fact it’s too hot to chew or be bothered to swallow. People are sleeping a lot during the day. The night time temperature barely drops below 30 degrees and as a result people toss and turn during the night. In the day they are then so tired they fall over where they sit into a gentle sleeping pattern.
We are due to teach at 6 am on Saturday. Hopefully this will afford us a little more cool in which to concentrate.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
Beat the Heat
Photo Essay: Class Conditions
Students Adapt to Active Learning
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