Tafi Atome Catholic Primary School

After nine weeks of teaching at the primary school I have grown to know how it operates and become accustom to the completely different style. Growing up in the states school had always been a chore and I lost count of how many times I faked being sick growing up, but I have definitely gained an appreciation for my schooling. If I were to ask any child in Tafi Atome if they liked going to school I know their answer would be yes. But still my class of 50 students never has had more than 30 students each day because somedays parents make the students work or go to the farm. This greatly effects their learning. It seems to be that even some children are late to start school because they are needed to work. Because of this the class ages are skewed. My first week at the school I visited almost all the classrooms and noticed that there could be a 13 year old in class 2 and also one in class 6. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the classrooms had trunks with textbooks though, granted some students had to share. When talking to the teachers they discussed how much harder it was to teach in rural villages because of the lack of attendance and supplies. They expressed how difficult it is to build up the students knowledge when so many are absent every other day. There are someone things that I have not gotten used to, like the punishments and especially caning. Seeing the children having to do 100 squats while holding their ears in the front of the class made me very uneasy. But nothing it worse than caning, caning is when teachers hit the students on the behind, hands, back of legs, or heads…sometimes repeatedly with sticks. Sometimes it is just once but other times it’s repeatedly until the students are bawling for the teachers to stop. And what makes it even worse is that it’s over the littlest mistakes. One day I was talking with Josephine and I asked her about her day at school, she said it was okay but she told me she got caned. I assumed she was just being sassy because she has a tendency to be but it was only because she did not put the date on her paper. She continued to say that nothing happens when she does put her date in the paper though and that when I realized the need for positive reinforcement. It’s very sad that students are so used to punishment when they do something bad they are not encouraged to do anything above and beyond. Overall though I have enjoyed working with each and everyone of the students, their drive to learn made me want to attend school everyday. I hope to raise funding for more supplies and more sound proof rooms. In my first weeks here it was difficult to grow accustom to teaching over the sounds of surrounding classes and yelling teachers. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for the students to concentrate.

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