'It's going to be humbling

25th May 2001 at 01:00
In the first part of our series, Karen Gold meets two volunteers chosen to teach in Uganda this summer.

"I grew up in a village in the Fens where there was no running water in the house, so we had to draw our water from a well," says Tina March, 51, deputy head and Year 6 teacher at Coates primary school near Peterborough. "When I tell my class, they think I must be Victorian. I want to bring it home to them that it's still like that for millions of people in the world."

She will be in Uganda in July, giving up five weeks of the summer holiday to work with local primary teachers in the rural north-western Masindi district, where children sit on the floor, classroom resources are a blackboard and chalk and class sizes range from 50 to 200.

Tina March is one of 60 British teachers with management experience chosen by the charity Link Community Development to be part of a new "global teachers" Millennium Fund project.

Tina has wanted to work overseas since she became a teacher 10 years ago after a business career. With her children now grown up, she can: "I think in Third World countries they see education as really important and encourage their children to want to learn, and I'd like to be there for them."

Over the next three years, Link will send 180 teachers to Ghana, South Arica and Uganda, to work with college lecturers or teacher trainers, and support planning, training and teaching in village schools. On their return, they will use their experience to raise awareness of Africa - Tina, for example, plans to run African days, with cooking, music, art and dancing, for Coates and other local schools.

Gill Bradnam, 37, Year 5 teacher, geography and science co-ordinator in the junior school of Brighton and Hove high school for girls, hopes to exhibit photos she takes in Uganda and to put them on the Internet for other teachers to download. She has worked in Africa before, on a South African Scripture Union project in 1992, encouraging links between black and white children, then still divided by apartheid.

The experience made her want to use her 14 years of experience teaching in state and independent schools more directly: "I don't want to be all jargony, but I hope some of the principles I've learned about priority-setting and different styles of teaching might be useful. I have great respect for the job teachers are doing out there: I think it's going to be humbling and challenging and make me review how I do my job here."

Read how Tina March and Gill Bradnam prepare and travel to Uganda, and what they do there, in future issues of TES Primary

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