Monthly Archives: November 2014

Letter to My Learners

In order to recreate the farewell feeling that Yearbooks created for me in high school, I wrote a letter to all my learners and then wrote a personal note on each of them. I have 220 learners so this took a bit of time, but I really enjoyed it. It helped give me closure to the year and think about how lucky I felt to have gotten to know some of these kids. I watched some open their letter with big smiles and thank me later. It was a great way to end the year on a positive note.

After I’m done marking the last 220 exams then it’s 5 weeks of summer to look forward to! The entire country shuts down from Dec 13-Jan 13. We are very much looking forward to relaxing and being tour guides with visits for fam (Josh’s parents) and friends (Mona and Chris)!

Next year Peace Corps volunteers aren’t allowed to teach as many classes because we are expected to get our secondary projects (like a school library, girls club) up and running sustainably. Our service ends in July also, so less classes = less classes and learners without a teacher once I’ve left.

I’ve requested to teach new learners next year, the 8th graders. I think there is value in me reaching more learners here and exposing them to my different teaching style.

Happy Summer from the other side of the world!

___________________________________________________________________

Dear                                    ,

I wanted to write you a letter to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed being your teacher this year. I also wanted to leave you with a bit of Mrs. Shusko wisdom as I won’t be able to do that daily next year since I won’t be your teacher.:(

You all challenged me daily and pushed me to do my best. When I could tell you were enjoying a lesson or learning something new, it really gave me such great pride and pleasure.

I thank (most) of you for bringing your enthusiasm, energy, humor and wit to class. You sometimes stumped me to give you a clear answer which forced me to think of creative ways to help you understand this difficult language we all speak.

If you haven’t discovered this already, learning is a lifelong process. It happens in the classroom but also outside. If you haven’t already, I hope you begin to love to learn. I know I do.

I hope that with every new experience you have, every new person you meet and every book you read, that you learn something from that experience, person or book. Knowledge is power.

I write this letter most importantly because I want you to know how much I believe in you. You will always meet people in life who say you can’t do it, you’re not able, or you shouldn’t do it. Know that I’m on your side, I’m on your team, and I truly believe you can do whatever it is you set your mind to. Don’t doubt yourself.

Remember that to achieve your goals in life you need to put in a lot of time, effort and work. Remember Mr. Shusko’s lesson – It takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. You will meet a lot of people in life who won’t “go the extra mile.” You probably already know many who don’t. You need to work hard in order to get what you want. Go the extra mile. Do your best, give your best, always.

You hear often the phrase “education is the key to success” and after awhile that may sound like lip service. But I’m here as a wise old lady to tell you I’ve seen education lift poor people out of poverty and create confident people who change this world. There’s no reason all of you can’t have great success in life.

My former English teacher who is a close friend of mine today once told me that the goal of life is to constantly work on becoming a better person. To challenge ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. I try to live that every day. While living here I’ve tried to work on being a better teacher every day, a better Peace Corps volunteer and American every day, a better wife, a smarter person, a better friend, a stronger person. Take small actions everyday to create a better you.

We can only control our own actions in life. We reap amazing benefits personally when we challenge ourselves to do better.

We all make mistakes. We all suffer hardships. But it’s what we do with the hand that we are dealt that distinguishes the triumphant from the defeated. You’ll always be able to meet someone who you have suffered more than, but you can also meet just as many people who have suffered more than you. How we let these experiences affect us shows the kind of person we are. Will you let circumstances beat you or will you fight and win?

Forty-five years from now when I’m old and grayer, I’ll look back and reflect that no doubt living here in Namibia and teaching you will be one of my life’s greatest experiences and memories. I will never, ever forget you. Thank you for sharing all that you did with me.

I care a lot about each and every one of you. I hope we will always be in touch and that this is just the beginning of our relationship. I wasn’t joking when I said you are invited to visit my husband and me in the United States.

I’ll be around next year and still available when I’ve gone back to the United States. I am happy to help you however I can. Think of me when you apply to college or for a job and need a reference letter.

Congratulations, be proud of yourself, your hard work and celebrate. Good luck next year. But remember this is just the beginning. The future of Namibia is in your hands. Go out and kick butt J

❤ your English teacher,

Mrs. (Lisa)Shusko

P.S. You may friend me on Facebook when I leave and I’m not a teacher here anymore so we can keep in touch easily. 🙂

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Grade 8A Learner of the Week – Musimani Rebecca

rebecca

Musimani Rebecca, 16 years old

What is your tribe/mother tongue?

Chockwe

What is your favourite thing about school?

My favourite thing about school is hanging out with my classmates and doing our classwork together.

Who lives with you at your house? What are some of the chores you have to do at home?

I live with my father. I clean the house, wash the dishes and also watch after my brother and sisters.

What would you like people in America to know about your country, Namibia?

I want them to know how our beautiful our country is and how we live in peace.

What are some of your goals and dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up?

My goal is to become a nurse so that I can support my family and take care of myself when there’s a problem.

What is your favourite thing about your culture and Namibia?

My favourite thing about my culture is when we eat and dance our traditional cultural dance.

Who is your hero and why?

My mother and father because they take care of me and when I need something they do it for me.

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Grade 9B Learner of the Week – Beata Ashikuni

beata

Beata Ashikuni, 15 years old

What is your tribe/mother tongue?

Ovambo speaking (Oshikwanyama)

What is your favourite thing about school?

My favourite thing about school is learning more and education myself and also improving my vocabulary.

Who lives with you at your house? What are some of the chores you have to do at home?

I live with my biggest sister and her husband. My chores at home are cooking, cleaning, etc. I actually enjoy doing my chores sometimes.

What would you like people in America to know about your country, Namibia?

I would like them to come visit our gracious and pleasant country. It has extremely beautiful places and things for them to see.

What are some of your goals and dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a doctor. I really want to heal the ill people who are very sick.

What is your favourite thing about your culture and Namibia?

My favourite thing about my tribe is we respect and adore our tribe very much.

Who is your hero and why?

My hero is one beautiful intelligent woman which is my mother. She is a hard working woman and she never gives up in what she does. Since my Dad died she fights to succeed.

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Grade 8B Learner of the Week – Mbundu Andreas

andreas

Mbundu Andreas, 14 years old

What is your tribe/mother tongue?

Rukwangali, Nyemba, Chokwe

What is your favourite thing about school?

Sports, boys’ club, design and technology class and physical science class.

Who lives with you at your house? What are some of the chores you have to do at home?

I live with my mom, dad and brothers and sisters. I clean the house and water the plants.

What would you like people in America to know about your country, Namibia?

Namibia has beautiful physical features. The Namib deser, the Kavango River and the wild animals.

What are some of your goals and dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a soccer player and an engineer.

What is your favourite food in your culture and why?

My favourite food is ehovi. It means it’s harvesting time. When the crops are ready it’s time to eat them.

Who is your hero and why?

Dr, Sam Nujoma, our first President. We have a free and democratic country because of him.

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Learners Essays

Proudly Namibian

By Caroline Tokwe Grade 8

Namibians have all got different ways of viewing things. Our beliefs and culture is what makes us unique. The way we shall strive for justice and peace makes us proud. What makes me proud is the vast landscape and beauty of our magnificent land.

We have different religions and come from many different cultural background but we stand by each other like brothers and sisters. Our ability to conserve and protect our natural resources and wild life so that the children of tomorrow can see what we have seen makes us special and even more proud.

What we can make from the dry branches of a tree and from pieces of wire is astounding. Our ability to come together as a nation and make a better tomorrow for our future generations. The long hours of labor and sacrifice we put in to develop our country’s economy.

The ability to change for the better of ourselves and those in our surroundings. How we protect the things that have sentimental value to us and all the little things that make us unite as one big family.

There are many things that make me proud to be a Namibian, even more than what I have written.

My Idea of a Good Life

By Julia Tchipondia Grade 8

A good life for me is having food in my stomach everyday and sleeping in a warm bed everynight.

I am thankful for the little things in life but I also want a car and a house with a pool and lots of nice tables and chairs. All the nice things are nice but money with no love is not worth anything. The good life is when you are healthy and you can play every day.

It is not full of sadness, anger or stress but smiles and happiness every day.

A good life has no problems, sickness and is full of food and love. If you have this every day is a good day, no matter rain, sun or wind.

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Essay Exam question was: The Old and the New – While it is important to accept change, we should not entirely reject old customs and new ways. What are your views? Discuss at least two customs/traditions/lifestyles which you feel should be retained and two which you feel should be rejected or changed.

The Old and the New

By Anderson Francisco Grade 8

My views are that we should not entirely reject some old customs and old ways. Old customs and ways can help us survive life in the wild or city.

I really think customs like marrying more than one partner, women staying at home and not working and early marriage must be rejected. As we speak new diseases are infecting and killing people. These customs cause the diseases to spread faster.

The customs I think that should be maintained are boys and men doing manual labor like taking care of cattle, chickens, etc. I also think traditional ways of storing food should be retained. The way we used to store food, food would last up to 1-2 months and still be fresh.

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Grade 9A Learner of the Week – Shariffa Stoffel

shariffa

Shariffa Stoffel, 15 years old

What is your tribe/mother tongue?

Afrikaans

What is your favourite thing about school?

My favourite thing about school is the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to be acknowledged.

Who lives with you at your house? What are some of the chores you have to do at home?

I live with my mother, father and little sister. My chores are washing dishes and cleaning the house on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

What would you like people in America to know about your country, Namibia?

Namibia is a fun, loving country. We all work together and we love to share.

What are some of your goals and dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a pilot when I grow up because I love traveling and I love airplanes!

What is your favourite thing about your culture and Namibia?

My favourite thing about Namibia is we are all treated equally and it’s a free country. My favourite thing about my culture is the fact that we always stick together.

Who is your hero and why?

My mom because she raised me, she loves me and guides me through life.

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Grade 9B Learner of the Week – Meriam Mpande

meriam

Meriam Mpande, 16 years old

What is your tribe/mother tongue?

Nyemba

What is your favourite thing about school?

There are many reasons why I love school but I most enjoy learning something new everyday.

Who lives with you at your house? What are some of the chores you have to do at home?

I live with my parents and my chores are cleaning the house, cooking, helping my mum with chores and looking after my younger siblings.

What would you like people in America to know about your country, Namibia?

That Namibia is not just some developing country, it is a country that is working very hard to earn its development.

What are some of your goals and dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up?

A doctor, but not just any ordinary doctor. I want to do something with my life. I want to travel the world, help the poor because when I get old I want to look back and say I made a change in people’s lives.

What is your favourite thing about your culture and Namibia?

Freedom, because I know that some kids in other parts of the world don’t have what we have, and I think we should be thankful for that.

Who is your hero and why?

My mom because she is the person who gave me life.

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