|With Lady Luck and the Black Swan - OLHS grads and now VBCPS teachers! So proud!|
"Where is Mali?" I ventured to this group of too-cool-for-school teens. "West Africa!" one of the girls quickly answered. 'Impressive,' I thought. "What is Mali's capital?" I continued, knowing I would stump the group with this one. "Bamako!" the girl answered, almost as quickly. 'Jeesh,' I thought. "What is a major river that runs through Mali?" I finally asked - knowing that, this time, I had them. "The Niger?" one of the boys in the group offered. "Goodness!" I said to them, "where do you guys go to school??" "Plaza Middle," the girl replied. "Tallwood," said the boy. 'Wow,' I thought - VBCPS is doing their job!
This morning I had the great pleasure of going to Tallwood High School to talk with two of Mrs. Windish's Global Studies classes about my work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali and to see for myself what the Global Studies Academy was like. If trick-or-treaters can answer questions about Mali at the drop of a candy bar, VBCPS must be doing something right and my visit this morning just confirmed what I already knew - they are!
I was nervous when I started my presentation, but as I talked about Mali, Annie and Esayi and my work in Bamako, not to mention my tall, dark and handsome fiancé, I felt right at home. I talked about Mali's ethnicities, Malick Sidibé, GIS in Mali (Mrs. Windish is starting a unit on it and asked if I could incorporate it in my presentation) and everything in between! I loved sharing my experiences with students who were interested (for the most part!). They posed in-depth questions about Mali on topics as diverse as ethnic divisions and religious freedom to what the stars look like and where Abdoulaye and I want to live when we get married :)
At the end of the class the students thanked me for sharing my experiences in Mali with them. "You're going to be a great teacher," one of the students said (she was also the most active-listener I have ever encountered - nodding her head and smiling at me during the whole presentation! - thank you!). "You remind me of Mrs. Frizzle with your dress and they way you present," another student said. 'Mrs. Frizzle?' I thought. I think I'll take that as a compliment! :)
Do you want to know anything more about Mali that I haven't already shared? What do you think is the best school at the beach? :)
(Top Image here)