Today was the first day that the teachers of the primary school taught their own computer classes. And isn't this the goal? The teachers were excellent!
SewHope started computer classes with the 10 classes of first through sixth graders at the beginning of May. I taught the classes with the teachers present 3 or 4 times, basically having each class once per week for a month. This allowed the teachers to become familiar with the computers and some of the free downloaded software that is available for the children. In this timeframe, I also met with the 11 teachers 3 times to have them experience each of the over 125 programs available in Edubuntu. They were able to take notes on how each program worked and whether or not they thought that each particular program was fit for their class level.
This time has also allowed us to build our relationships. I feel that the teachers and the program have come a LONG WAY in 6 weeks.
My plan is to be present with the teachers as they teach to help as I can. Then when I return to the USA for six weeks beginning July 1, the teachers at the primary school will be able to carry on in my absence. We will find new ways to work together when I return.
I was DELiGHTED with the teachers! They were so eager to jump right into it! Several of them used programs that I had not previously used with the children. It was wonderful to see their confidence and to be able to match to a better degree their class material with what they chose to present in the computer class today. The kids have been trained and they are doing well in moving around in the programs.
This also gives me a chance to try to learn the kids names and faces...not my best skill and there are almost 200 primary students! Today I had a chance to ask about four first grade students who are 10 years old. This is their third time in the first grade. This is the first time that this particular teacher has had the four of them. The teacher noted that two of the children do not have fathers in the home. Two of the others do not attend regularly. Once I get back in August, I will try to find out more about students such as these who are far behind to see if there might be a way to help them.
I guess all that I can say is that it is just plain EXCITING!
My favorite thing was the first grade teacher. Since the computers are usually already turned on when his class comes in, the students have never had the experience of turning on the computers. The teacher walked in and the first thing we did was to turn all the computers off so that he could explain to the children how to turn them on. I thought that was a great place to begin!
We are still waiting for a secure cabinet to be built in the primary school computer lab. Once that happens, we will move computers over to the lab instead of carrying them back and forth from the kindergarten each computer class day. Also, we still do not have internet. Please join us in praying for both of these things that will greatly enhance the computer program here.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012