On Friday I went to an academic clinic at a local secondary school. An academic clinic is the Kenyan version of an open house and parent teacher conferences in the USA. Many high schools in Kenya are boarding schools, so it is a chance for the families to visit the children. They also get the opportunity to speak to all the teachers.
I accompanied Tabitha to her son Timothy’s school. It’s been two years since the last time I saw Timothy, so of course I was not surprised to see he is taller than me! He was so happy to have me there. Of course, he was the only student with an American visiting, so I was ready for people to stare at me, which they did. However, I was not ready to stand in a line for 4 hours. During an academic clinic all the teachers sit at separate tables around the school hall. Each student and their family members are supposed to visit the different teachers, discuss the student’s performance and the goals for the upcoming midterm exams. Sounds simple right? It would have been so easy, except that this is a big school, so the lines to see each teacher were very long.
During my trips to Kenya, I’ve noticed that some people have a different understanding of a line, or cue as they call it here. I’ll wait patiently to buy food at a grocery store, and someone will just move right in front of me as if I were invisible. Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, but it did happen at the academic clinic. The lines were less of a line, and more of a mob of people. Some parent’s just walked right up to the table as if their child was more important than the other 10 that were waiting patiently. People also seem to think that if you stand really close to each other, the line will suddenly move faster. We do not need to stand on top of each other. The line is still not moving. Let’s give each other some personal space. Please.
We will have our academic clinic at Rapha Secondary School on the 26th, so I’m glad that I had the chance to experience it first hand. Thankfully our population is smaller so the lines won’t be as long. The concept of an academic clinic is excellent. The student’s definitely benefit. It was great to hear from Timothy’s teachers. He’s doing really well, and I was happy to stand in line for so long, because I knew that he appreciated having me there.
After we met with his teachers we shared a picnic lunch. Guess what we ate? Did you guess pizza? About two years ago, my friend Carolyn Fair taught Tabitha how to make pizza. Timothy loves it so much and he requested that Tabby bring pizza for lunch. Let me just say, it was soooo good, better than pizza I’ve had in America! Of course, I’ve been eating mostly rice and kale, so anything different tastes good at this point. It was so delicious though, and I’m positive that we were the only people eating pizza at this academic clinic!
Until next time,