Rwanda Trip -Day 10

Wednesday, June 21
We picked up John Africa early today and went to a private Primary school. I had the chance to observe a math class with Bunmi. The students learned about triangles. Without books to use, the teachers there have to write everything on the board and have the students copy them down: notes, guided practice, and independent practice. Once the teachers finish writing down the independent practice, they go back to their office to grade or plan. When the teacher left, Bunmi and I weren’t certain what we were supposed to do. Eventually, they came and got us so that we could talk with the teacher. Just a reminder, the reason this happens is that the students stay in the classroom and the teachers move to their classes. 
We did have a good discussion with the teacher who is also the dean of studies at the school. We had a general discussion of the changes in the curriculum and the challenges that it gave to the teachers. Then we talked about how he felt about the class. He gave himself and 80%. Then we discussed the good things we saw and made some suggestions that he might want to try. It’s so hard for these teachers from the start: class sizes over 50 in most cases; no books, or at most one for the teacher; no other resources to speak of. Yet they want to learn and welcome our input. We wanted to be sure to be as positive as we could be with each teacher we met. 
At the second school, Lucy went to an English class while I went with Amanda to a computer class. Most of the classes were huge because the school was a free public school. In Lucy’s class, a senior level class, they discussed the book Lord of the Flies. The teacher had prepared an introduction and a synopsis for them. Then, she used the class copy of the book to read to them. (Yes, that’s right, a class copy for about 50 students.)  The class Amanda and I visited was small, limited by the number of computers. There was a teacher and a man we discovered later was a volunteer. They discussed data security before we came and then they were setting up accounts on the computers. This demanded setting up passwords, and the volunteer was trying to model good practices on developing passwords. The volunteer had a disability and we later learned that he had stepped on a land mine on his way to school during the genocide battles. Unemployment is already high in Rwanda, and people with disabilities tend to be seen as not employable. We tried to encourage him. Given the chance, he might develop into a good computer teacher. Rwanda is just beginning to include computer classes in the curriculum so there aren’t many teachers with that specialty yet. 
The rest of the day was spent shopping. We visited an art gallery called Inema Arts Center run by a couple of brothers . They had some fantastic pieces and they also work to help students work in the world of art. In addition, they try to keep some of the traditional Rwandan culture alive. After that, we visited some local artisan shops, a book shop, and then a large bazaar. Lucy and I ended up spending it all…er…improving the Rwandan economy. At dinner, we heard Janet’s story. Posted before last night when we heard Anna’s story and ended with a loud time of singing. Tomorrow will be another early day as we’ll head to Kayonza where part of the team will teach some graduating seniors how to apply for colleges and jobs and the rest of the team will observe in the classrooms. 


About rockyfort

I am a retired Middle School Teacher. I share each day what God is teaching me from reading His word hoping that people can benefit from reading what God has taught me.
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