Charles Plager's Africa Page

Charles' Africa Page

I was a Peace Corps volunteer who was a math teacher in the Central African Republic (right in the middle of Africa) from 6/95 to 5/96 (there was a small "disturbance" and we were evacuated) and a physics teacher in Cameroon (looks like a rooster on the map; right next to C.A.R.) from 5/96 to 6/96.

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2 years in 2 minutes

In C.A.R., I was a highschool math teacher who taught 10th grade to 13th grade. Class sizes were small (upto 45 students) and I only had a total of just over 100 students. I taught 14 hours a week and was department head of a department of 2 teachers.

I don't know how much I really got accomplished (we were evacuated before the end of the school year), but (at the very least), because of me, my best friend Joseph got to eat pizza and use a computer (small steps, right?). I tried to get my students used to doing homework and used to not cheating (out of 100 students, I caught and failed 14 for cheating).

In Cameroon, I was a physics teacher at the University of Dschang. Here, I only taught 1 class a semester, but they were much larger (I had 120 students for summer school, 550 for the fall semester, and 450 for the spring semester). I usually spent 2 to 4 hours a week giving the lecture (my class room was an amphitheatre) another 4-8 hours teaching discussion sections and usually 4 hours a week teaching laboratories.

Again, it is hard to say what I accomplished (although it is probably easier here). I finished 3 semesters, I showed the teachers how to use Excel (the only decent Microsoft product I've ever seen) to calculate grades, and I even wrote some software to create lists for class enrollment.

So what did I think overall? Good question. It is an experience I an glad I lived (not to be confused with an experience I was always glad to be living). I learned a lot (about myself, about Africa and Africans, and even some french) and I made a lot of great friends. I don't know if I'd do it again, but I very glad I did it.

Last updated on November 19, 1997 by