The brutality of being misunderstood
Jancan Limo, Education Consultant
08 November 2017
It was a hard decision to make but I finally left the classroom so that I could concentrate on developing other desperate souls like me. I am now doing a job where we dig deep and explore ideas that will help transform teaching and learning in schools in Kenya.
I completed my teacher training course, a course that I really yearned for in my childhood, back in 2013. My exit at the teacher training was like the last episode of the series of dramatic encounters from the moment I joined the college.
Securing admission was a fate that I never imagined it would come my way. I survived seven attempts to drop out of college and I really thank the administration of the college for their kindness. They transformed me into the kind of a teacher that I would later become.
The key thing that was imprinted on me after my training was not only being a knowledgeable teacher but a teacher with compassion.
“Opportunities dropped my way eventually and it turned out that it was moments of growth in the profession and not the money accumulation activity I’d imagined”
The job market was not as welcoming as I had expected. I sent numerous applications to schools but securing an interview was impossible. I begged God for favours, but I later learned that you can’t bribe God.
Opportunities dropped my way eventually and it turned out that it was moments of growth in the profession and not the money accumulation activity I’d imagined. Challenges accompanied every step I made and tough as they were, they refined me.
Having secured temporary jobs in various regions of Kenya opened my insight on how learners suffer the brutality of being misunderstood. In most schools, the microscopic focus has been laid on the content to be covered in school and the expected outcome. Teachers are police-marked by their bosses with the aim of ensuring maximum utilization of their time and knowledge.
The learner perspective has been given a sideshow. It is alarming that the decorations of an object have been given a higher value than the object itself. Personal attention to the learner is a theory that exists in teachers’ minds.
One of the schools that captured my attention was one that was guided by principles of reason, religion, and loving kindness. It emphasized on the development of a whole person. The implementation though faces a lot of challenges as the teachers were not formed to deliver such. Most of us teachers, I realized, are only trained to be knowledgeable but the skills upon which to thrive in the work environment is left to individual creativity and ability to ape from others.
Teacher training does not do enough in equiping teachers to do more than simply deliver curriculum
Photograph via Pexels
Reforming education sector in our country has been considered crucial and a lot has been done in changing the curriculum. A new curriculum is set to be rolled out in the year 2018. In all these reforms, I feel that improving teachers has not been given sufficient emphasis. I believe that teachers are the single most important group towards achieving these education reforms.
It is for this reason that I believe new tricks need to be developed towards not only forming the software (mind and knowledge base) of the teachers but also initiating what I will refer to as the heartware (ability to impact and inspire individual learner through building a friendly relationship with learners.)
I brace myself, roll my sleeves and face this new mission of trying to knock sense into the teachers about transforming the little things that we do but with major impacts on our lives and the lives of our learners. I would not wish the learners to be sidelined, ignored and served the wrong recipe.
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The measure of teacher’s expertise in the field is not in how much they know but on how well they help students to know. It is not in what they know but how they teach what they know.
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