Zimbabwe: observing teaching, HIV, tutoring

(Tuesday) Just after breakfast, the headmaster of the school asked if I wanted to teach or observe some lesson. I jumped at the opportunity but requested to observe first as I wanted to see their standard of teaching, how they taught and see if there was a big difference. For me there was a massive difference, I am use to teaching primary school not secondary school. I have not been trained in this and I have only observed one day in a secondary school since I was at school.

I first observed Joy, who is new to the school, young and is one of the only teachers to have trained and got teaching qualifications. She was teaching geography to form 2 (Year 9). As they don’t have resources, she has to dictate sentences to the children, which they write in their books. They seemed to be shy to answer questions so she got them all the stand up and could only sit down if they gave an answer. Most of this lesson was in English but some was in Shona. I have to say I didn’t understand the lesson as I have not learnt it in a long time.

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After, I watched Perseverance teach, who has been at the school since it opened. She did the lesson on personal pronouns, possessive pronouns and reflective pronouns. The children had to write sentences with these in, then underline them. It was clear that some were more advanced than others but they don’t do differentiation. This is mainly because they don’t have the resources and have to write everything on a chalk board.

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The head teacher had given me a timetable of the lesson I could observe. I had a bit of time free as well as being interested in finding out a bit about HIV and Aids so I attended the Health course that some of my team were facilitating.

Next I observed a ‘Bible Knowledge’ class give to form 4 (Year 10), where they read about a man being healed from Dropsy. It was kind of embarrassing because the teacher asked me to explain the disease and I had never heard of it. I now know, it’s an extremely old word used to where peoples arms and legs swell.

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In the same class but with a different teacher I watched him teach ‘O’ level maths about matrices. I had never heard of it, therefor I hadn’t ever learnt it. It was interesting as well as very easy to learnt ( which was a good job as I was asked if I could teach scalar multiplication in matrices the following day at 7.30. I agreed.

Once we had lunch, I thought it might be a good idea to make bracelets with some of the teenagers using loom bands. It was so chaotic as so many student were there that they were just grabbing them so I stopped and thought I would do it later when there were less pupils.

While wandering around the school grounds, a few student came to ask me if I could help them with some work. Of course I agreed. In the main hall, several pupils gathered. First, they wanted me to help them with a particular question that they were struggling. I didn’t understand what the question was asking. After showing me the answer, I could figure out what to do and explained it to them. Then I have them a couple more examples.

Once completing those questions, we went on to English, where they wanted to know how to write an effective story and argument introduction. Even though writing is not my strongest point, I could give all my knowledge of teaching in a primary school.

One of the teachers wanted to see me but I wasn’t sure why. When I found her, she was with a group of children singing. They were amazing. Just clapping and singing without any instruments. They practiced several songs, then they wanted me to sing and dance with them. It was good fun.

Chatting to some of the girls, I decided to sit with them while making some more loom bands which they loved doing. It was really interesting to hear about interests and ambitions.

In the evening, I attended a bible class on prayer and ministry, particularly focussing on prayer for healing and practical steps. After learning, we got into groups and prayed for any pains or sickness. The Zimbabweans are happy to share their needs so they can be prayed for.

Late in to the night, we played a card game called ‘Seven Step Rummy’, which is complicated but fun.

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