After two months travelling around East Africa, I arrived back home in Masindi for the start of the new school year. Well, sort of…the elections delayed the start of term by a month. This was frustrating, but there was still lots to be done in preparation for the new year in schools, and it was great to be back at work, catching up with the other staff.
The first thing to be done was to run through the training sessions we would be delivering in school. The training sessions run at about an hour and cover topics like: Differentiation, Group Work, Pace, Marking. We split the training sessions up between the volunteers and
the Ugandan field officers, and took it in turn to run the session.
We then gave WWWs and
EBI (for non-teachers reading this, that’s ‘What Went Well’ and ‘Even Better If…’). This was really useful- knowing where to pitch and how to modify your language is the hardest thing, and the Ugandan Field Officers are so much help in this respect. It was also a lot of fun… playing games, practising ‘brain breaks’, laughing. Importantly, there were samosa breaks, mandazi breaks, tea breaks, and a few ‘debates’ about politics, HIV, men, romance (I use this term loosely!) and, bizarrely, the changing fashions of men’s trousers…
I also had a lot to do to prepare for my work in schools. Each school was given a lengthy report following the Achievement Award Assessment. I went through each of these reports (11) to create an Action Plan to go through with the Head Teacher. This identified key areas to improve and who would do what to improve it! Some of these action points require training and follow up observation (and monitoring by the HT); some, like creating a whole school Behaviour Management Plan, involve working one-to-one with the HT. I have never done this kind of action planning before, in such a formal way, and it was really useful (and something I’ll take back to my work in the UK). The first visit into schools will include going through this with the HT (if they are in school…it’s a bit more ‘hit and miss’ than the UK!). The action plans completed, I could prepare the training sessions I had identified as being necessary in my schools. No power points here…each training session has a sugar sack! (images to follow!)
We have also been working on some Curriculum Planning. In pairs, we took a section of
the curriculum and put together what you might call a ‘medium term plan
’ with suggested activities and questions (questioning is an area we are trying to develop). I worked with Chris on P1 (first class of primary). This will be used in Central Training.
In other news, it’s hot. Really hot. And really dusty. Everything I own is covered in a layer of red dust (actually, so am I).
So, it is sun instead of clouds, dust instead of rain, bananas instead of chocolate bars, sugar-sacks instead of PowerPoints, and Uganda is as beautiful as ever.