We all know the daily struggles that teachers face but those struggles are just a bit different in Burkina. Yes there's a lack of equipment, harsh teaching conditions, but the students are there for a reason - to learn and they all want to learn. They are cognizant of the fact that their parents may have given up a great deal for them to go to school. The other difference is that it is difficult to get female teachers. This is incredibly important as the presence of a female teacher encourages the presence of female pupils.
Bethel School has one female teacher (we are looking to recruit another) - Madame Isobel Kienga. She is 30 years old and has taught at Bethel for 2 years and been in the profession for a total of 5 years. She became a teacher because her mother supported her through school and wanted to give something back; to be able to teach other girls.. An enthuiastic Science and Physics teacher she feels passionate about enable children, especially girls, to get into Science.
Caroline met with Mme Isobel during her last trip to Burkina Faso earlier this year and she gave us a different insight into Bethel School:
‘I feel the best thing about Bethel school is there are no problems with the administration. My goal is to do my work properly and to give my very best. Bethel School is very welcoming – the Headmaster always welcomes us with a hello in the morning and helps us to have good relationship with the children. At Bethel I enjoy that the classrooms are clean as in the Government school I work in it is very difficult. The main differences between the two schools are:
At Bethel I teach just one class and get to know them much more personally. I teach 3 at other school.
At Bethel the classrooms are just 2 children to each table so it is easier to teach them – it is at least 3 children to a table at the other school.
At Bethel there are more classrooms and so the class size can be a lot more reduced – Bethel it is about 50 but at other school it is 70 or more which means it is very hard to help each child individually.
I find the biggest challenges as a teacher are that there is a lack of respect from boys to me teaching them. This is one of the biggest things that discourage girls from becoming teachers.
I would love to develop more support for girls at Bethel school – to have more time to advise them how to be strong leaders and confident young women.
I would also love to see more practical equipment so that the children can have a practical experience in their science lessons – if they do this they will learn so much better. We need more access to books – especially French and Science. A projector would also help enormously to enable everyone to see information. "
We are looking for sponsors for teachers at Bethel School. If you would like to know more, please click here