I learned something interesting today too. The Maori counting system, when it goes beyond ten, is based off addition and multiplication. “Ma” basically means “plus”, so “tekau ma tahi” means ten plus one, or eleven. “tekau ma rua” means “ten plus two”, or 12. When going above 19, you begin to use multiplication. “rua tekau ma tahi” means 2(10) + 1: 21. “Rau” (not to be confused with "rua") means 100, so “ono rau rima takau ma toru” means 6(100) + 5(10) +3, or 653. Pretty cool! I spoke with Matua Ben, the Te Reo teacher, after his lesson, and he told me that, as I had suspected, knowing the Maori counting system made it incredibly easy to learn basic math. He had been doing it since he could talk! I suppose the only drawback is that saying or writing numbers takes a lot of time and space.
A few funny things happened this week, too. I got mistaken for a student for the first time. Normally, all students are in uniform. This means my lack of uniform distinguishes me as a teacher despite my youthful appearance. But the other day, the students were being Living Statues of famous New Zealanders. All the Year 8s had done research, prepared speeches, and dressed up as someone who had an impact on New Zealand and the world. Half the kids were in costume while the other half circulated (in uniform) to hear their speeches; then they switched. One kid came up and asked me who I was dressed as. I didn’t quite get it at first. When he repeated his question, “Who are you?”, I caught on. “Umm… I’m a teacher…” We walked away in opposite directions, probably both a little embarrassed.
I think most of the Year 8 kids like me because they’re starting to mess with me. From my experience, people either mess with people they don’t like to get a rise out of them or people they do like to tease them good-naturedly. And you can usually tell the difference.
One of the boys in my class imitated my American accent every time he talked to me for about three days. I think it’s wearing off…
Another boy informed me very sadly that he has a terrible disease called “Knows-too-much-math-elitis” and will probably be dead by 30. If he makes it that long. He then started acting like he’d gone bonkers and threw his pen in the air. It was hilarious.
Another boy in that class pulled a “Think Fast” move on me today and threw a dodgeball at me with no warning. Without thinking, I caught it and threw it right back at him. He wasn’t expecting that, and it hit him in the face. I did feel a bit bad about that, but it was a purely instinctual reaction. And hey, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. He took it like a good sport.
Finally, in Science today, my students were going through soil samples from the Waitakere Mountains and collecting all the bugs they could find. We were talking about ecosystems. One of the boys said “Spider!” and flicked his (empty) tweezers out of the tray and toward me. Anyone who knows me will know I DON’T like spiders. So, naturally, I flinched. And, naturally, the boys thought this was hilarious and proceeded to try and scare me over and over again. I only flinched the one time, and even regained my pride by grabbing a beetle they had let loose because they wouldn’t actually touch it. City boys…
…hmm, just noticed that all the pranks are from boys, little mischief makers that they are. The girls, of course, are all proper young ladies ;)