A day in the life of...

29th May 2015 at 01:00
Goats in the classroom. Serenades by pupils. Off-road commutes on the back of a motorbike. This education adviser is amazed by life in Rwanda and is proud to be making a difference

When I get up, the first thing I do is check the weather. Rwanda has two rainy seasons, so it rains almost every month, apart from June to August. I prepare for all weathers and never leave home without my waterproofs and suntan lotion. But if it has been raining all night, I might not be able to reach some of my schools.

I am an education adviser on a Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) placement. I live in Kamembe, which is near Nyungwe Forest, one of the country's few remaining forests and home to many chimpanzees. I work in 30 schools and visit about three a day, helping staff to improve their planning, teacher development and lesson evaluation.

My "moto taxi" collects me at 7.30am. It can take between 30 minutes and two hours to reach a school, and today I will spend at least five hours as a passenger on the back of a motorbike. I love my off-road journey, though - it's a far cry from my commute when I was a deputy headteacher in inner-city London.

When I arrive, the pupils spot me and wave from their classrooms. I try not to disrupt their learning. This school, like many others, has had a new classroom in the past year. It's built out of brick, with a concrete floor, but it still doesn't have any electricity; a lack of resources is commonplace here. Class sizes are much larger than in London, too, with children crammed on to benches.

The headteacher and I have a coaching and mentoring session. She discusses her action plan for the year and the progress the school has made in achieving its objectives. She also updates me on the outcome of the training I recently delivered.

Then we observe a science lesson. The pupils are learning about mammals. VSO actively encourages the use of teaching aids to stimulate learning, but I didn't expect a live goat to be paraded around the classroom.

At the end of the lesson, we give the teacher constructive feedback and agree next steps. We set a date for my next visit and I jump on the moto taxi.

I stop for lunch at around 2pm. But you can't just grab a snack in Rwanda, as it's considered rude to eat on the street in public.

The next school takes nearly two hours to reach. Although it's bumpy and tiring, this journey is one of my favourites - the dirt tracks pass through tea plantations and forests.

At the end of my day, as I am psyching myself up for the long trip home, I am encircled by the headteacher and some excited pupils. The head asks them to sing to me. Being surrounded by singing children and beautiful green hills is one of those lovely moments I'll never forget.

When I get home, I cook dinner on an electric hob and spend some time with my neighbours. Being here, living and working among the local people, is amazing. It makes me feel very proud.


Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com

We will give your school pound;100 if your story is published.


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