Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Story of My Life

It was test-time. The end of the term. Through the two other teachers at my school weren’t preparing tests for their students (that I know of), I wanted to test my kids.

I gave the kids warning. On Monday, I said we’d practice this week for the big test on Friday. Each day we did an exercise like that that would be on the test. There would be no “Pele, I don’t know what this is” –ing, no “Pele, what?” –ing. No excuses like I heard last year. We were ready.

More than that, the incentive program I have with the kids was coming down to the wire. I told them that if, as a class, they got 90 stickers in a term, we would have cake or something else I baked. To get a sticker, they had to pass the weekly spelling test, do their homework, or do well on this big test. Well, as of Thursday, they had 84 stickers. And they needed a 70% to get a sticker for the test. They were geared up.

Six more stickers on Friday, and we’d eat cake on Monday. Then, it’s Sports Day on Tuesday, and we break for a week.

Friday morning, I was so excited. I was ready for these kids to give it their all. They were ready too. Before school, I heard them quizzing each other on spelling words. They were going to get those last stickers, and then we were going to celebrate.

But that’s not how things go in Tonga. Twenty minutes after school started on Friday, I got a phone call from another PCV. “There’s a cyclone heading to New Zealand, and we’re not going to get hit, but we’ll get strong winds and rain. So, school everywhere is canceled.” I couldn’t believe it. I waited to hear it on the radio, hoping it wasn’t true. Soon, it was on the radio. The kids ran home before the storm started.

We ended up having the test on Monday, and we made it work. We always make it work. But can’t something just work out the way I plan? Just one thing?

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