Eugenie Kangore has been a science teacher for the last six years. Today she is a chemistry subject leader at G.S Rwamagana Protestant in Rwamagana District. She also completed a continuous professional development certificate course in Educational Mentorship and Coaching, offered with VVOB’s support. When she attended the certificate course, she started changing her teaching approaches, and she believes the training made her a new teacher!
Lesson learnt: Supporting one another is everyone’s responsibility
“We think that everyone is a master in their own subject and therefore do not need support. Consulting a colleague about teaching challenges was not a common practice. Asking for support or being asked to support a colleague was considered not normal, and even when done it was considered a favour! When I participated in the certificate course in Educational Mentorship and Coaching, I realised that my colleagues at my school and I needed to change our perceptions. I learnt that supporting one another is everyone’s responsibility if learning outcomes are to be improved. I learnt that a teacher can ask fellow teachers to help them prepare or even teach a lesson when they are experiencing some difficulties—something which I could never imagine doing before coming to the training.”
Ms. Kangore learnt about how to address teaching and learning challenges together through a community of practice (CoP). “We used to meet as teachers to discuss general issues, but I found a CoP more effective. Now we meet in a small group of eight science teachers to discuss more specific challenges. When we meet in a CoP as science teachers, everyone brings the challenges they are facing, we identify priority challenges, discuss possible solutions, and then plan specific actions to address those challenges. For instance, one of our colleagues realised students seemed not to understand clearly one of the chapters in his subject. After discussing and sharing experiences we advised him to use teaching aids locally available and use improvisation, and try-outs were successful. In addition, we identified an issue of students with challenging behaviour—an issue most teachers were facing. It emerged that many of us, including myself, were dismissing these students, but during our meeting we realised that it was not a solution. We discussed and agreed to try the following: talk to them, make them team leaders, change their seats. Try-outs proved these solutions to be very effective,” Mrs Kangore said.
Teachers teaching themselves… and each other
Mrs Kangore also learnt a new teaching model known as ‘The 5 E’s of learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate’, that has helped to improve her work as a teacher. “I found this model very practical and useful as it allows students to build on their prior knowledge, stimulate them to ask questions, participate, and carry out hands-on investigations, to develop their own explanations about scientific phenomena. This teaching and learning model was new to me.”
Ms. Kangore is happy that no new teacher will suffer as she suffered anymore, as far as induction of new teachers is concerned.
“When I learnt about induction of new teachers, it reminded me how I struggled when I started my job. No one really helped me, I tried my best to get familiar with the school. Nobody in the school knew what to do about new teachers. Even those who came after me faced the same challenge. It was not until myself, the other science teacher and the school-based mentor attended the training that we learnt about induction of new teachers. Two months ago, we received a new teacher at our school and inducted him and he enjoyed it. We will continue to do the same.”
“I have acquired a lot of skills and knowledge that helped me to improve teaching and learning approaches as well as coaching my colleagues . I feel the certificate course transformed me into a ‘new teacher’,” Mrs Kangore said.
- Learn more from other teachers and school leaders on how VVOB’s support has transformed their skills.