The Young Students
As part of the AMAD project, we got to teach both primary school and secondary school students various subjects.
I couldn’t be a part of the primary education project because I was teaching English in the secondary school. However, at night, we would gather together (mostly in the dark) and exchange tales.
There was a story about a little boy telling his friend that his (the friend’s) English was poor. One of the volunteers asked him whether his English wasn’t also poor and he said, ‘No, I can speak good English. I was in a private school before I came here’. When asked why he left, he disclosed that the fees were too high for his mom to pay and that she had to enroll him in that public school (St. Alloysius School) where the fee is 300Naira.
At my own side, the subjects taught were Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English. The classes taught were ss1, 2 and 3. The first day for most of us was eye-opening as we all had to put aside the grand plans we made for the students.
For instance, for English, I decided to teach summary writing. The plan was to dictate a passage to them at the beginning of the class, teach, and then review and answer the questions with them at the end of the class. This, however, seemed like a herculean task as I couldn’t even get them to fully write the first sentence of the passage.
I, then, had to teach on summary writing first and then call out three people; Elijah, Grace and Deborah to read out the passage for us.
Even at that, I was shocked. For students in the senior secondary school, their reading skills were not up to standard. This put me off balance a little, but we treated the questions (into their break-time.)
One funny moment for me was when the bell for break rang and I was still trying to get them to answer the questions. At that moment, I was backing them and writing on the board. Immediately the bell rang, it felt like my heart rang with it. I was almost 150% sure they would all stand up and run out and I just could not imagine the embarrassment. So, I kept my back to the class and kept writing… slowly. I heard them start murmuring but no one was leaving just yet. It was then I realized that they were waiting for a reaction from me to determine their next move.So, I turned, frowning and looking my sternest I said, ‘I know it’s time for your break, but we’re not leaving here until we finish these questions; which is why I need you to participate and answer them. Once we’re done, you’re free to go on your break but until then, no break’. Oh well… no one left.
Another funny moment for me was when I was waiting for the Maths class to be over so I would teach English. I sat in Chinazom’s SS1 maths class and just half-listened. Then, suddenly, I heard my name. I brought myself back to earth and heard Chinazom say, ‘erm, Boro, what’s that topic where they use numbers and letters in the equations. Oh… I don’t know why I can’t remember?’ I mean, very easy right? Algebra eh? But apparently, the breeze that blew Chinazom’s guru brain also blew mine because I just stared right back at her (and all the ss1 students who turned to look at me as though I was about to give a sacred information). After my stare did not dissuade Chinazom and the students to stop looking at me, I turned my mouth upside down and gently shook my head; quietly thinking up ways to pinch Chinazom without going to the front of the class.
After I finished teaching, I was almost certain that no student learnt anything from the class. But the next day, when they all came with definition of new words I put on the board, I felt very encouraged. Besides, the class on Essay writing was superb.
Well, for two days, we also divided ourselves into two villages; Iloti and Odonoko where we taught the elderly people on entrepreneurship. The main topics were Marketing, Business Operations, Accounting and Customer Relations. It had to be in Yoruba, so the Yoruba guys handled the lectures. However, everyone prepared them together.
I could not take pictures because the elderly people seemed a little uncomfortable with the camera. There was a lot of ‘ma ya mi o’ (don’t snap me).
Generally, the two days of teaching were fun, challenging and fulfilling.
Also, one of my best moments occurred at the end of the first teaching day while we were waiting for the old people to come for their class. As we sat outside the class, I heard a young girl call my name. I looked at her and I was sure I did not know her. Then she came and said, ‘Ah, aunty Boro. How are you?’ I said, ‘Oh fine. You remember me?’ She said, ‘Yes na, I’m in Itamapako school; where you came yesterday’ Was I touched? Yes, I was.