The Student, Turned Classroom Teacher
posted by: Justice Atiim on July 1, 2019
On the 21st of June 2019, a team from RAINS who were on a monitoring visit to Bidima, a community in the West Gonja District of the Savanah Region bumped into Ms. Francisca Ansere. The team met her in the Bidima primary school busily teaching class four pupils’ English language lessons. Francisca is a third-year student of the University for Development Studies, Ghana studying Bachelors of Education in Social Science. Completing fieldwork is one of the university’s program requirements and Ansere has been placed in a rural community for the past seven weeks.
Together with five other classmates, Ansere has been working with Bidima residents to update the profile of the community, identify key problems, and develop proposals to address those key issues. However, following a recent issue with teacher absenteeism, Francisca saw a need in the community’s only primary school and decided to help out.
The assistant head-teacher, Mr. Moses Banira, later confirmed that Ansere was a student from the University for Development Studies (Wa Campus) and has been handling all subjects taken by the class four pupils for the past five weeks.
Ansere says the children have been doing especially well in mathematics, though they have more challenges with their English studies. However, she adds that since she has taken charge of the classroom she has observed some improvement and that they are “always eager to learn and even come over to the house after school to ask questions and spend some time with me.”
I was curious to know why she had opted to help these pupils. Her simple reply was “to assist them, they need to learn”.
I decided to profile Francisca because she was not only applying all the theory she has learnt in school but also identified a big need and an opportunity to shape the lives of other young kids. Ansere says that covering the necessary curriculum for all 14 students has not been easy, but that she is motivated by their positive attitudes and interest in learning. Without her support, these pupils would have gone through several weeks without teaching and learning taking place. Ansere says that because of her focus on social development, she tries to support people in any area where she has the capacity to do so, particularly young people.
In taking on the role of the teacher, Ansere has exhibited great leadership; she also called for the first Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting since schools resumed 8 weeks ago so as to share the school’s challenges with parents. Per the requirements of Ghana Education Service (GES), schools ought to have such meetings within the first 2 weeks of reopening, but this was yet to be done.
Mr. Banira, the assistant head-teacher of the school had this to say: “Francisca has been of great help to us since she came to this community, and we are grateful for her support”. For the pupils she handles, she has become a role model and a teacher.
Ansere says she would encourage all of her fellow UDS classmates to take initiative in their placements and to never cease looking for opportunities to bring change to whichever communities they find themselves a part of.
Thank you, Francisca, for taking this bold step of change!!!
Author: Gloria W. Akugri, INCOME Project Officer