Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life of ... Mandy Whyman

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life of ... Mandy Whyman

Article excerpt

This English teacher finds daily inspiration working at a lively international school in Mozambique, where students from a variety of backgrounds are enriched by a culture of diversity.

It's around 4.30am when I wake up. It's just getting light and I can hear the sparrows over the hum of the air conditioner. For a while, I lie back and look up at the folds of the mosquito net, thinking of the day to come. I try to fit in a moment of quiet before my four-year-old, Em, wakes up. We leave for school at 7am.

The American International School of Mozambique is just around the corner, a two-minute drive down a pitted dirt road. We could walk but drivers in Maputo are more concerned about watching for potholes than pedestrians.

Inside the campus, I drop Em at the early learning centre before walking to my classroom. Students and parents greet me by name and we exchange small talk.

The secondary school day comprises four blocks of 90 minutes, broken up with two 15-minute breaks and a 40-minute lunchtime. An hour and a half of English sounds like a long time, but somehow it is never quite enough. The joy of small classes is the chance to discuss and explore.

Lessons begin at 7.30am and the Grade 11 students arrive full of mock- reluctance at their pending presentations. Some are in costume to elaborate on characters from William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. In this small, confident group, it is easy to work through the assessment criteria and comment on each performance. …

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