City of Praise Nursery and Primary School sits in a remote trading centre of Mmanze, a subcounty in Uganda. Our mission is to produce skilled and creative future generations, as well as leaders, through working hand in hand with parents.
Most of us walk to school from nearby villages. Our pupils arrive at 7am, some carrying their bags loaded with learning materials. We begin the day with a prayer and a hymn, and lessons usually start at 7.30am. I am the headteacher but I also teach English, numeracy and religious education in the pre-primary section.
At 10.30am, the pupils sit down together in their classes to have breakfast. This usually consists of a hot porridge drink (made from maize flour, sugar and water) and some food (normally leftovers) from their parents.
Teaching is challenging because of the insufficient buildings, seats and missing equipment. Teachers’ small salaries are rarely enough to get through a month.
Once the children have finished eating, they are ready to learn more about basic literacy both in our local language, Luganda, and our official language, English. In each subject, the syllabus is arranged in a progressive manner according to each child’s interests and abilities. In this way teachers are able to enhance learning through learner-centred activities such as teamwork, co-curricular activities and games.
Games are also a highlight of every lunch break. The children love to play football, netball, dance, listen to music or prepare drama pieces. They also use some of our limited equipment, such as balls and drums, to develop their natural talents. We try hard to reflect and develop their individual skills.
Many of our students face personal challenges, mainly because most of them lack basic necessities such as pens or books as their parents can’t afford them. But despite all the difficulties, I love teaching and I am passionate about giving my best for our pupils.
When early evening comes, the school day still has not finished for the students. They are mobilised to do the daily chores, such as cleaning the compound and the toilets, fetching water from the kitchen and cleaning the classrooms. We want to educate them to be responsible citizens. After their duties, pupils are given their homework before attending the evening assembly, and are then able to depart to their homes.
When I look at our school, I am pleased that our aim to create a culture of fraternity and equality has come true. It makes me happy to have the proof that pupils are able to recall and remember what I teach them. It fills me with pleasure to see a child’s academic performance improving and know they are succeeding in life. Being part of their transformation into people with a lot of skills, positive attitudes and knowledge gives me the passion for my lessons every day.
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