Last summer we ran our first summer school in conjunction with St Cecilia’s School. We were delighted with the results and so were the school management. We spoke to headmistress Madame Al’orbi (recently retired) about her thoughts on how the school had gone.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
I have been teaching for 41 years! I have enjoyed teaching students and I like it when they become useful citizens of society and when I see them achieve their dreams. It gives me joy and satisfaction. This means my input has given a very good dividend.
How do you think that the summer school has gone and why?
Very well! It has been full of activity especially from the KickStart Ghana end. It has been activity orientated, exciting. People are psychologically present in the classroom. That is reflected in the attendance.
My teachers’ methodology has learnt from your volunteers, especially how they present their lessons. We have learnt from them. They have a lot of learning and teaching materials, the lessons are rich.
I have enjoyed our teachers work. Their input is more than the normal classes work and the children have benefitted.
How do you think the children have benefitted from attending?
The children have been assessed and it has shown this will provide a smooth transition to Junior High School. The volunteers’ and teachers’ lessons have provided a broader overview and expanded their horizons. They have used their holiday profitably.
They have also learnt about socialisation and they have learnt from other cultures. They have interacted nicely.
Most of the students are not living with their parents but relatives. The lunch (provided by KickStart Ghana funding) has sustained them for their lessons and we are most grateful. The lunch has been their balanced meal. It has promoted their health. During this period we have not had any cases of sickness. Almost all of them enjoy the meals prepared. Without the lunch most of them would have dropped out. Most of the teachers enjoy the lunch and it has been of a high quality. I commend our caterer.
There is a traditional problem of parents providing exercise books but the ones provided by KickStart Ghana means it has been much easier for work to go on. The children have benefited from the exercise books, the lunch and from the lessons.
What difference will it make to the children when they attend JHS next year?
The difference is that the assessment to be done at the JHS, they will be well equipped for the next academic year. They are well equipped to pass any test.
How have you found working with KickStart Ghana?
I would like to continue working with them in the future and ensuring the sustainability of the summer school.
What do you think of the lessons they have completed?
They are lessons that have been completed are thought provoking and the children are put into smaller groups so that all the individuals learn. The students are psychologically present and they were participatory, all the students were excited for the lessons.
They’ve all worked really hard. I love the sports day and the intermittent games.
I like the materials on the wall as it means that the children can learn when the teachers are not here. They have even taken some of these home to show their parents.
What do the parents think of the summer school?
The parents tell me they are very happy, that is why they allow the students attendance to continue. Some of the children send their exercise books home and they are very happy with what they have seen. They would like the summer club to be sustained.
A reading club has been running for the summer for the younger children. How do you feel this has gone?
If I were to continue teaching here I would continue the reading club and I love how it has been organised. The volunteers have handled it very well. They have learnt a lot. I go there before the volunteers arrived and the children show me the spelling drills and games that they have been playing to help them with their reading. Dictation, spelling and description games. I have made sure I have written these games down!
The school took the decision to register more girls than boys to the summer school. Why do you think a girl’s education is so important?
If you educate you a girl you educate a nation, if you educate a boy you educate an individual. They need to be educated and empowered so they can educate their children to make our country strong. This will help in their development as well. It will help them be compatible with their spouse as well. They are home makers and the first teacher of the child. Education is empowerment and can make you go places. So for more girls to be participating it is a plus, it means we are going in the right direction. They can take senior positions in the community and nation at large if they are educated. They can even help their illiterate parents.
Those deliequent children who would be up to mischief in town are now being handled at the school. It has gone a long way to mould their character and discipline them.
Kale Moses, the Chairman of the school Parent Teacher Association had this to say.
We thank KickStart Ghana for their work and we hope this relationship continues into the future. The children have learnt a huge amount from the teachers and volunteers and have been coming home each day excited to tell us about their lessons.