I am a better teacher because I am supported, pupils are happy, too
The reason I wanted to become a teacher in the first place was to inspire Kenya’s next generation.
It fills me with great pride knowing that, as a teacher, I have the ability to impact their lives and motivate them to achieve greatness.
I’ve been a teacher for six years now, five of which have been spent at Bridge Academy, Gicagi, in Kangemi. I was still new to the teaching profession; therefore, I had the drive and motivation of a brand new teacher.
I attended a Kaimosi Teachers Training College where I learnt basic teaching techniques including the lecturing technique where teachers provide a set of information to their pupils without fully engaging them.
The challenge with this old technique is that it didn’t allow me to see if my pupils understood the lesson. I was not a very strong teacher back then and I knew it because the children were bored.
I did not feel like I was reaching them and I did not feel like I had the things I wanted to be good at my job. I was upset about the whole situation.
Even though I had worked at another school prior to joining this one in Gicagi, the learning outcomes I am seeing in pupils here is far greater.
I believe it is because of the support and teacher training I receive here. The textbooks, flashcards, lesson plans and my supervisors are my strong foundations.
And because I am stronger, my pupils are stronger in their learning. Through teacher training sessions, I have learnt new techniques that I had never heard of before.
For example, I learnt the ‘checking for learning’ technique. This overlaps quite heavily with the ‘question and answer’ technique, as the aim of both techniques is to keep tabs on pupils that may be struggling to keep up with the lesson content.
This technique involves regularly walking around the classroom when I give my pupils activities to do, engaging with them on what they think about the lesson.
This is a positive technique as it gives pupils the opportunity to speak up, particularly those that may feel too shy to speak in front of other pupils.
The academy manager supervises some of the lessons and advises on areas of improvement.
We also have a support team from the head office that gives feedback on little things that would work well for the children. I am always learning here.
Every week I explore new ways to teach. The parents have noticed it as well. They say their children come home talking about school and what they learnt.
Laura Orlando, is a Grade One teacher at Bridge Academy Gicagi, Kangemi. She reflects on how her teaching has improved through training and support, and how that has helped children to flourish. Her story is one of many within the new #TeachersTransformLives campaign that is part of the events for the UN World Teachers Day 2019.