A day in the life of...Agnes Awori

13th December 2013 at 00:00
For this Ugandan primary school teacher, the working day begins at 4am. And the pressure does not ease when she gets home: there are many mouths to feed and her salary is simply not enough

At 4am, I wake up and start preparing for the day. I am a Primary 3 teacher at Kitante Primary School in Kampala. I teach English, literacy, oral literature, and art and crafts, and my salary is 300,000 Ugandan shillings (pound;73) a month.

Before lessons begin, the children and I sing the national anthem. We recite the school anthem, we pray and then I take the health parade, which is a daily custom.

My first lesson is reading, from 7.30am until 8am. Students read individually, in groups and as an entire class.

From 8am until 8.30am, I teach English. I guide the children to understand certain concepts by using flash cards and jigsaw puzzles. They are then given 10 minutes to complete an exercise as I move around the classroom giving them individual attention.

I collect the books for marking and my colleague takes over for the third and fourth lessons, which are in maths and religious education. The children have a break at 10.30am.

At lunchtime, my colleague and I supervise the students as they line up for food. We have to ensure that they get enough and that the children who have brought a packed lunch can eat without others grabbing it from them.

At 2pm, the students return from lunch and recite some well-known rhymes for motivation. This makes them lively and inspired for the oral literature lesson. I take them through legends, similes and proverbs, then my colleague teaches music for 30 minutes.

We head to the library at 3pm. We give the children books and ask them questions about their reading, to see what they have or have not understood.

When we return to the classroom, I ask the students whose turn it is to get started on the cleaning. This takes place every weekday except Fridays, which is when we supervise the children in general cleaning between 8am and 9am. After that is health parade: students who are clean and smart are rewarded, while those who look grubby are paraded before the others and cautioned.

At the end of each day, from 4.30pm to 6pm, I produce teacher learning aids and plan my lessons. Then I walk the two kilometres home.

Once a term, parents visit the school to talk about the progress and behaviour of their children. I give parents updates on their child's performance and character, and we agree on a way forward.

Although I love my job, there are many challenges, such as the large class sizes, the meagre resources I have to teach my students and the indiscipline of some of them, especially those who live in slum areas. I try to help them improve through guidance and counselling.

I have a very big family to take care of, including my late brother's children. This means I have to rely on loans. I rarely get my full monthly salary as the loan companies deduct their money, leaving me with just a handful to survive on.

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 ed.dorrell@tes.co.uk

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


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