Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Back to School

Some personal news: I started a new job last week. I am teaching second grade in Carthage, a town about 30 miles west of Mount Vernon. So far I've had six days of in-service training and spent many hours getting my classroom ready for the first day of school on August 18.

I have thought many times about the contrast between back-to-school preparations here in the US and those in Zambia, so I thought I would re-post a blog from 2007 about Brian Siakuba's student teaching experience.

Today we made another grueling drive to Chiili to pick up Brian Siakuba, a GBCC student teacher who had been there since May. The community came to say goodbye and gathered for this final photo. Brian is on the left side in the front row wearing a white shirt.

The community leaders were sad to see him go. He had proven himself to be an excellent teacher and a great worker in the local congregation. The woman who serves as head of the village begged us to send more teachers from GBCC. We hope to do just that!

On the way home, I asked Brian to describe the greatest challenge he encountered. He told us about facing the start of the term alone. We had taken him to Chiili on the first Saturday in May before the term was to begin on Monday. No other teachers were there, but we assumed they would be arriving on Sunday. As it turns out, Brian was the only teacher at the school for the first two weeks of the term. One teacher arrived after two weeks, and the head teacher arrived three weeks after the term began. Poor Brian had to figure out what to teach without any guidance! He seemed to have taken it all in stride and recommended that we send more student teachers there next year.

We are proud of students like Brian and look forward to hearing more of their stories as they return from their first experiences in the field.

Update on Brian: Brian graduated in 2008 and spent two years working with a newly planted church in northern Zambia. Currently he is back in the Namwianga area and teaches in a rural school. His wife is also a graduate of GBCC and teaches at the same school.

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