You are 17 years old and find yourself in front of a class of 40 students, all of whom are perched together shoulder to shoulder on benches with their books open on top of their bags, eager and waiting for instruction. Your classroom is small with one chalkboard and maybe a chair and table for yourself. There is just the right amount of seats for your students. There is a set of computers down the hall in the shared activity room along with all your school’s resources. Students have their own textbooks and no one forgets their pens.
Your actual classroom is big and you have all of the resources you could need and want at your fingertips. There are smart boards and whiteboards and you’re usually not too far from a set of computers or other devices. You have gone through extensive teacher training and are given ample opportunity for professional development either within school or outside of school. You are observed and given feedback on a regular basis.
Two parallel worlds. These teachers work with what they have to inspire and engage their students. This week our team has seen excellent teaching and learning to go above and beyond. They are eager to learn from us and share their worlds and always want to do more to improve their teaching. With access to little resources, their teaching is constant.
While we volunteers work hard to support their roles in the classroom, their passion demonstrates that they could be as good as any one of our colleagues. It is a reminder that a teacher is not a good teacher because of their tools, but rather because of who they are as a person; their passion, their drive, their energy and their commitment.
Contribution from Alexandra Drabczynska. Want to read more about our current trip – read our other four posts here!