We have been volunteering as teachers at Cangumbang Primary School. We have been teaching English and Math to Grade 3 and 5.
During the first week we realized that some of the students were non-readers and we had to go back to basics. Our students are not at the expected level for their grade; we believe it is due to the lack of teachers.
There are four teachers at the school who educate kindgarten to grade 5, totaling 141 students. When we arrived, grade 3 and grade 5 did not have permanent teachers. We were therefore assigned to teach these grades.
It was obvious to us that the students are not receiving the education they need under these circumstances. The government will not give funds for another teacher because there are not enough students enrolled at the school.
Since the students are below the standards for their grade level, it has been important to give them one on one time. Some are capable to do tasks at their class-level while others still struggle with the alphabet.
It has been difficult to manage our time with each student as we need to both focus on teaching basics and grade level curriculum.
Luckily we are 2 volunteers working together and we have therefore had the opportunity to give each student the individual time they need. In our short time, we have seen the students improve immensely.
Some of our students are so persistent in understanding the work we give them that they will not take recess before they solve a problem they are struggling with; which can only be described as a moment of true joy from a teaching perspective.
We teach in a make shift classroom which has a dirt floor, bamboo fences for walls, no electricity and a tin roof.
The students are easily distracted by the noise from the neighboring classroom, the resident dogs and roosters and the carpenter building a new comfort room (toilet).
Soon it will be rainy season and we can only imagine the muddy floors and the noise from the tin roof.
This experience has been rewarding; knowing that the students have improved both their English and Math skills greatly. We will miss their love and affection.
Hopefully we will have the opportunity to come back next year and follow up our work. Our goal next year is to get the students a cement floor and real walls; which they truly deserve as all students do!
Written by: By: Mary-Ann and Shalene / Photos by: Sergio Romo