Month: July 2014

My first week as a PeaceCorps Volunteer teaching at Kengoma Primary

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 By Kasia, Peace Corps Volunteer serving with Mpambara Cox Foundation, Kabale, Uganda

Kasia and Arene with board in background
“This is Arene, she is 9 years old and is an orphan, she has a warm smile,” says Kasia.

Arriving to Kengoma Primary School, I was greeted by all of the teachers and pupils. It was a very warm celebration filled with singing and dancing, which made me feel very welcome at my new school. Although I have been in Uganda for eight months, it was the nicest welcoming to receive from the staff and pupils, knowing that I will be spending the next 18 months with them. I am thrilled to be working with such proactive and enthusiastic Ugandans who are pleased to have me teach at their school.

I spent my first day at the school observing the P4 pupils and the P4 teacher, Christine. Christine is a wonderful teacher who is enthusiastic and it is very evident that the pupils benefit from her teaching. The second day at Kengoma Primary School, I introduced myself to the pupils and they introduced themselves to me. The P4 pupils were very shy at first but I believe with some time, they will become comfortable with me and we will create success together. I also spent some time with the teachers, getting to know them and watching their teaching methods. Education differs from education in the United States so it was significant for me to be able to acknowledge those differences.

Kasia first week at Kengoma_reading cat in the hat July 2014Kasia with book cat in the hat

My main purpose while I am in the PeaceCorps is to promote literacy, teaching P4 pupils how to read and write in English so that they are better prepared to further their English education. I focus on P4 students because this is the level at which they start transitioning from their local language to English. Mainly, I will be conducting reading groups, introducing new vocabulary words, and structuring grammatically correct sentences with them. If necessary, I will be starting with basic phonics of the language, such as letter and sound recognition, and then continue building onto the language. With these skills, I believe that P4 pupils will have the basic foundation of the English language so that they are successful with furthering their education.

 My first few days teaching at Kengoma have gone well. We made name tags so that I can memorize their names efficiently. They wrote their names and colored them with crayons on a piece of paper.

Kasia student Joel
Joel enjoyed coloring his name tag with crayons!

It was a simple assignment but I feel as though it helped them to become more comfortable with me.  The second day, I read them “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss, which they loved. Then I had them try to read a page each, since I only have 10 P4 pupils in my class. They are still very shy because they have never been taught by someone whom is not Ugandan, but they tried their best. It also helped me to evaluate their reading level. I believe that with some time, they will become very comfortable with me and we will be able to accomplish a lot together.

I hope that they will learn a lot from me but I also have confidence that I will learn a lot from them.