I teach at Asossa Secondary and Preparatory School in Asossa, a small town near the border of Sudan and about 700km from my home town. The school has 2,705 students aged 15-18, most of whom have to walk for more than an hour each day to reach us from rural areas. The school is open to refugees and, because the number of students is increasing (and we have only 103 staff), the school day now takes place in two shifts.
Teachers are assigned either the morning or afternoon shift, and this varies by term. Most teachers and students prefer the morning shift in the first term because September is our spring season, so the weather is good. The second term begins in February, when the weather gets hotter and hotter and the daily temperature reaches up to 35C. Most of the classrooms do not have air conditioning.
I live 10 minutes' walk from the school and arrive half an hour before the first class begins at 8am. I am an English teacher, a homeroom teacher and coordinator of the English Language Improvement Centre.
English is the language of instruction in our school, and the improvement centre focuses on fluency. I am very happy to see my students come to the centre to practise English because it is mainly those students who are shy to speak in their classes. When they come to the centre, they express themselves freely and become more confident.
I have been a homeroom teacher ever since I started teaching and I have a lot of responsibilities. Every morning, before the first period, I must make sure that my students line up for the flag ceremony and sing the national anthem properly. All students must sing as audibly as possible, otherwise I must make them sing again. Every homeroom teacher, as well as the school principal, is expected to attend the flag ceremony; absence is considered disobedient.
After the flag ceremony we have registration. I follow up who has been behaving and who has not, who is doing their best and who is not performing well. If there are any problems, I talk to the student and advise them. But if the issue is getting worse I must call the student's parents or guardians, as it is my responsibility to deal with problems before cases are taken to the principal.
When I am not teaching, I walk around the school compound looking for students who are cutting class. If I find any, I must take the correct measures to discipline them.
The afternoon shift begins at 12.15pm and ends at 4.15pm, when I return to school for extracurricular activities and to check my emails at the school media centre. It is the responsibility of the afternoon students to take the flag down before they walk home.
Although I am busy and teaching is challenging, I feel that I am suited to the profession. I have dedicated the past decade to teaching because I believe that Ethiopia can escape from poverty only through education.
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