Monday, March 8, 2010

Are We Together?

During our week of teacher training workshops, we used various methods to get to know the five teachers we would be working with at our two pilot schools. As we moved through our sections on Identities and Communities, we gained insight into their lives. Our concern coming out of the workshop: How do you relay the same lessons and build the same trust and collaboration in a class of one hundred and fifty students effectively? Now that we’ve begun our classroom implementation phase, the answer is clear: you leave it to the professionals.

In the past four weeks, I’ve spent most of my time with the Primary 6 classes at Police Primary, watching their teacher, Nyerere, dominate the classroom in a way I could have never imagined. The first time I walked into his class, I had a heavy feeling at the bottom of my stomach, the same one I often get right before a big game. After the class greeted me, Nyerere wrote “Peace Education” on the board, and soared away with the planned lesson, while I sat in the corner and watched the show. As we discussed different ideas surrounding the meaning of the word peace, a hundred hands flew up in the air, and in forty short minutes, I had heard from virtually every student in the classroom. Looking around the classroom, I felt that each student had been touched by the lesson in one way or another.

The curriculum that we’ve offered the teachers is beyond interesting; it is educative, exciting and motivating. Still, a great classroom needs more than a great lesson plan. Typically, Nyerere opens his class with a review of what we talked about in our last lesson. As he emphasizes what’s important, he somehow finds little ways to relate his words to every single student, making the classroom erupt in laughter. Before you can blink, Nyerere has moved on and the children are quiet and attentive, and most importantly, extremely engaged. As he walks up and down the narrow isles in his classroom, he asks the class “Are we together? Are we together?” As the children say “Yes,” in unison, Nyerere offers a mellow “Ah,” and class continues.

It’s just about the most peaceful thing I’ve ever seen.

- Kijana

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post - keep writing about your wonderful work.