Sophie Sikina, a current Namibia volunteer in the Oshana Region, shares with us the progress she’s made over the year with her students. Keep up the good work, Sophie!
“The days and weeks of hard work had finally started to pay off…”
It was the last class on the last Friday before mid-term break. My 7B class had joined my 7A class and both were working on illustrations for poems they had written. They chattered excitedly, squished together, sharing chairs and desks as they tossed pencils and markers to each other to complete their illustrations. Music played from my portable speakers (a promised reward for good behavior throughout the week). More than one student was dancing along to the music in their seat while they worked.
Looking out at the classroom, it seemed as far as possible from where I had started the term. I remembered the trepidation I had felt my first day in class, looking out at a room of quiet, reserved children who were clearly unsure about me. As the days and weeks passed we began to accept each other. In the early weeks, each class brought a different test and new learning. I tested their learning and knowledge and learned their classroom behaviors and in turn, they tested my limits and learned the expectations and boundaries within my classes.
That Friday lesson seemed to demonstrate, at last, that I had made progress I was never sure I would make. I was astonished when the second class, who had been with me in the morning, slowly trooped into the room. I was even more surprised when the final bell rang marking the end of the school day and the start of school break, a no one moved. Rather than dash off at the end of the day, eager to start their holiday, they all stayed in their seats, more eager to finish their work. I felt like the days and weeks of hard work had finally started to pay off and I knew how I would continue from there. I knew each student by name and I knew their strengths and weaknesses, how to engage them and motivate them. Pride in what I had achieved mixed with an eagerness to see how much more progress I could make.