September 3, 2015
Day 10 in Nairobi, Kenya.
I was observing how the teachers teach in Korogocho slums (Grapesyard School) today. I watched Science and English class in class 6 (12/13 years old in general). Interestingly, the classes are not divided by ages but the time you enter the school. So you might find a 14-year-old kid and a 10-year-old kid in the same class. This phenomenon is caused by poverty, of course. Parents who have no money to send their kids to school created this distinction. In this school, there are 15 classes: class 1 to 7, each class is divided into green and blue, and class 8. There are 5 main subjects that are taught in the school. There are English, mathematics, science, social studies, and Christianity. From class 1 to 3, all subjects are taught by only one teacher; start from class 4, subjects are taught by different teachers. Most of the students are facing a big problem during the class, which is NO TEXTBOOKs! There are only a small amount of students who have textbooks for all subjects. Students have to share a textbook, they have to copy the textbook into their exercise books. Their exercise books are old and broken, though the handwriting on the papers is beautiful and tidy. As if there were hidden gold under the trash.
The price for a textbook is about 500Ksh (500 yen) and an 80pages exercise book is 30Ksh. Yes, for us, the price is nothing but for them, 500Ksh is not a small amount as a casual worker only earns about 200Ksh a day. I really hope that I can find them a sponsorship for textbooks, storybooks, and some other books, but my ability and influence have a limit.
As to clubs, there is sport (Wednesday), debate (Friday), and music club (Tuesday) in this school. If I have more time I would like to see the debate club, sounds interesting.
Grapesyard Primary School:
There are 20 teachers and 1200 students in this school, which means each teacher in charge of 60 students in general. The classroom is small and there’s no electricity in this area, students have to squeeze together and share the sunlight and textbook during the class. I was impressed by how the teachers handled the students during the class. Teachers are very good in leading the students. They would repeat what they say, ask questions, give examples, and double confirm the statement by asking “sawa sawa?”, then the students would answer “yes!” confidently. If a student answered the question correctly, the teacher will say “give him/her a big clap”; and students are encouraged to keep trying if they were wrong. When I saw how hard those teachers were trying to guide the students, I was touched and motivated. “The thinking that guides your intelligence is much more important than how much intelligence you might have” – this is why I want to teach.
English Composition Class
The next day I had English composition class and I had collected some good essays from the class:
These are the best gifts for a teacher. Terima Kasih.