Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

I sometimes forget that things often do not go as planned over here. I’m not sure why I don’t remember that because it happens several times every trip – but I forget and then it catches me off-guard. Today we were scheduled for pick up at 9 am. Our driver got pulled over on the way to pick us up so finally at 10 am we were on our way. This meant we were behind on our schedule and felt a bit rushed when observing teachers today. OH well…

We visited two schools. The first, Mandevu, is where I have done a fair amount of training in the past. I was thrilled to watch one of my star teachers, Mary, teach a wonderful lesson on division to grade 4 and 5 students. She used many strategies she has been taught and integrated concepts we’ve discussed over the last two years. I was so enthralled in the lesson I forgot to take any photos! I then visited two other classrooms – one with a retired teacher from the government school who has not had any training from me and uses very traditional Zambian methods; calling on one student at a time, fill in the blank, expecting only one correct answer etc.He also had students perform for us – reciting poems about poverty and HIV/AIDS.I always have to remind the teachers we are not there to be entertained but rather to watch quality teaching. And then we observed Maureen, who has had a couple years of training but still struggles to apply the concepts in the classroom. I think her progress is just a little slower than others.

grade 1_2Some grade 1 and 2 students at Mandevu pose for the camera at recess time.




Next we visited Matero where one teacher teaches grades 1- 5. She has about 40 – 50 students. She was excited to be in her new classroom that just opened today. The rest of the school building is still being painted but when finished there will be 4 new classrooms in all. There are not enough teachers to fill the school yet but they are hoping to find more in the future. The pre-school was meeting in the church building taught by two teachers.    Watching these ladies teach reminded me how much passion and enthusiasm these volunteers have for educating the next generation of Zambia.

new school buildingNew school building






teacher fanley grades 3_4_5Teacher Fanley with grade 3, 4, and 5 students. Grades 1 & 2 waited for their lesson in the other half of the classroom.





preschoolers_singingPre-schoolers perform a a song for us.





After the school visits Rebecca and I returned to Nancy’s to plan for our training tomorrow. I decided that part of the training is how to teach multiple grades at a time and involve all learners. I also decided I would have the teachers brainstorm all the possible curriculum topics that multiple grades cover (e.g. clean water, communication, HIV/AIDS, healthy foods etc) have them choose a topic while we brainstorm a lesson plan and I model how to teach it with multiple grade levels simultaneously. It will be a challenge but 30 years of experience and a doctorate should be enough to pull it off.  (I’m hoping anyway)

We were grateful the electricity stayed on all day, the internet was working most of the day, and we only lost water for a couple hours this afternoon. It’s the simple pleasures in life that really matter…we take so much for granted back home.

By the way, many of you have asked – and yes my ankle is feeling much better, better by the day in fact. Thanks for you thoughts and prayers.

Happy 4th of July everyone. Blessings! Machelle