World Teacher’s Day, celebrated annually on October 5th, brings together all bodies and experts in the field of teaching. It is a day to pause and appreciate teachers who strive daily to make the lives of their students better. Their roles go beyond teaching in classroom. With the adoption of SDG 4 on education, recognizing teachers, acknowledging their work, and reflecting on ways to counter challenges they face is key to the achievement of the 2030 Education Agenda.
For forty eight year old Tanzanian secondary school teacher Yolanda Boa, Asante Africa Foundation’s training on new teaching techniques could not have come at a better time. “Having used the conventional teaching tactics for 23 years,” she says, “Asante Africa’s new “Teaching In Action” tools and equipment provided to her and Maschati Secondary School, have positively impacted their learning enviornment.”
“Teaching in Action” has evolved me as a teacher
“After I received new knowledge and skills from them, I shared the teaching methods with teachers at different secondary schools, and explained the technique of “Teaching In Action”. I was trained on study skills, discipline, guidance and counseling, teaching large classes, and special education, using unconventional teaching techniques such as loop the loop, bicycle chain, step on stones, jigsaw. I learnt about using low cost teaching materials (e.g. old Khangas, boxes, natural vegetables, used drinking water bottles, magazines), manila cards, and threads. They provided my school with laptops, projectors and Rachel Plus learning tools. All these seminars were monitored closely by Asante Africa.”
Asante Africa community has helped gain new knowledge and skills
These skills have enabled her to influence other teachers, change their attitudes from applying traditional teaching methods like lectures to more “Learner- Centered Teaching (LCT).”
Attending the Asante Africa training in December’16 where the emphasis was on “Teaching In Action”, a lot has improved in her school. “We now focus on involving our students in various activities in class as well as outside, like study tours. I noticed differences in the teaching methodologies of the schools in my community versus other schools.” According to Yolanda, it is important for children in rural East Africa to acquire the right skills and knowledge to pursue options like medicine, teaching, engineering, lawyer and piloting, and to cope with the new world order of Science and Technology.
As a teacher I have witnessed the highs and lows students face
She says, “the most disheartening experience is to see a student dropout because they don’t receive a scholarship, and see them fall prey to drug abuse, prostitution, early marriage and pregnancy. I try to support them the best I can.” She is equally proud of her students’ success stories. “In 2014, my student at Fuka Secondary school, scored 81%/A grade in an English exam conducted by Siha University Students’ Association. Over the last five years, most of my students have done well in the National Exam. In 2016, 30 students received first selection and joined the Form Five girls. This was the first school among 41 government schools in Rombo District to receive these high marks. These success stories make me love my job.” This Masters Degree graduate has also taught Public Debate Format (PDF), which led to her students win a debate competition led by Krisanta Arobogast Tesha. “They scored 86% and were awarded a certificate.”
Students in rural East African communities are constantly facing problems like parents separation, early pregnancy, child marriage, lack of school fees child labour and scarcity of ICT tools among others. “Asante Africa Foundation has stepped in and helped overcome these challenges by providing equipment and training to teachers in schools, bringing harmony to students families, stopping early pregnancies and marriages, and convincing parents to send their children to school.” The teachers and the students have enjoyed using ICT in the classrooms, and are witnessing the difference.
She takes pride in her job and wants to share her knowledge, and benefit as many teachers and students as she can. “Every child has the potential to create a future for himself. What he needs is the right support system and the right skills. This is what a good teacher should focus on providing.”
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