For second term, I started a policy utterly foreign to my students- I began holding office hours. The teachers here share one “teachers room” and students are not really supposed to go inside, so my “office” is some grass on the side of a hill on our campus. Three hours a week, after the final class period of the day, I sit out there and talk to students who have questions, or just want to practice their English. Here is a short snippet of the most entertaining conversation I had during office hours:
STUDENT: As we know, all Americans are very rich.
ME: Not all Americans are rich. We have poor people too, and some even have to sleep on the streets.
STUDENT: No, it is not possible. We have seen movies and they show us how you live.
ME: Movies are for entertainment. They’re not real-
STUDENT: No, I do not think they can have fiction on television.
ME: Most movies are stories; dramas. There is a Kinyarwanda radio drama that is very popular I am sure you have heard. Movies are like that, fake.
STUDENT: No movies are real?
ME: Well, a few are. Name a movie and I can tell you if it is real or not.
STUDENT: Terminator 2.
ME: That movie is- [incredulous pause]- you think that there are liquid metal people who can shapeshift and travel through time?
STUDENT: [shocked] Teacher, there are not?