My trip is suddenly becoming real to my students.
Yesterday a student told me he was stalking my Instagram and that the pictures on my wall were on there and my website. Everyone else was surprised that there were pictures on my website and that I have an Instagram. I’ve shown them, the sign hangs on my board right now (since December), but I guess the countdown has suddenly made it kick in for them.
Today in Humanities, they were supposed to be writing a new letter to their Uganda ePal. They were sort of doing so, just very loudly. There were many conversations and side-tracked minds; there was a lot of focus, but not on what I exactly wanted them to focus on. Instead they were very focused on my trip and my website. There were many shouted questions, expressive comments, exclamations from across the room, and even whispered comments. They are extremely excited about my trip suddenly. Here is some of what went on in class today:
- Some want to send a gift to their ePal. I said it needs to be very small, like keychain or pencil size. That brought on the questions about sending a baseball, and the research as to how heavy a baseball actually is, which led to the discovery that baseballs have yarn inside and not air. And all of this was shared at top volume.
- They began to look up various phrases in both Luganda and Swahili and they were frustrated that Luganda is not in Google Translate. Now several of their letters have different phrases in both languages.
- So that sent them to YouTube where a few began to watch videos about how to speak both languages; out loud; with no earbuds; and of course, they practiced.
- A student got on my website and started playing with the flight tracker. He zoomed in and then brought the laptop to me to see that the plane can’t find the airport in Dubai or Entebbe (it zig-zags everywhere). He also named all of the countries I fly over and said that I need to get a picture of each one.
- Then he decided to tell me about the planes I’m flying on and that I need to upgrade to get the private seats.
- I talked a bit with my student who has been to Dubai about the flight entertainment and the app. I expressed my disappointment that our menus are still not available.
- Someone asked if I was going to the Dubai Mall, skiing, or the Burj Khalifa. I explained that we were doing that and have changed our minds because we have reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen Restaurant. That led to a whole lot of yelling. Then a student said that when I meet him (I explained more than once that isn’t happening) I need to tell him that he should be nicer and that they love him.
- I tried to get them to look at the menu and decide what they would order. Instead that led to someone reading me the bar menu. Then he decided he should call the restaurant and ask what they recommended, but he discovered they were closed. So, he made reservations… for 16 (number of students in class), I think. I hope he didn’t, but I think he might have.
- Across the room I hear Gordon Ramsay’s voice. They’re watching videos on YouTube and quoting Ramsay. Idiot sandwich, anyone?
- A student decided to read my blog posts out loud, very loudly. Then he posted a comment on my blog. It was very sweet.
- A student told me that if there is turbulence on my flight, I should just hold on and prepare to die.
- Another student asked if I’m afraid of my plane getting hijacked. My response was that my class seems to have been hijacked.
- Then there was this question:
“Ms. Watkins, if you get arrested, how are we getting you back?”
“Why am I getting arrested?”
“You seem like the type.”
“But seriously, if you get arrested, which country would you prefer it to be in?”
Again, “I’m not getting arrested!”
Another student chimes in: “Please don’t get arrested, Ms. Watkins! That means we will have a sub and I don’t like substitutes. They don’t do things right!”
I am glad that they’re excited about my trip finally. They have concerns about the things I need to get done, the things they need to get done, what they should send their ePal, what they should say to their ePal in the video, what I’m going to do while I’m there, whether or not I’m coming back, if I’m going to cry, will I miss them while I’m gone, and what they should do if I get arrested.
And somehow, they still managed to get work done today… well, most of them anyway.