|We arose for Mass at 6:45 am. After a quick breakfast, Sister Jacinta and I set out to observe Solidarity student-teachers at Masia Primary School here in Yambio.
I was not prepared for the very primitive conditions we encountered: small, dimly lit classrooms, overcrowded with too many children; benches for sitting but no desks for writing; a very poor quality chalk board that was hard to see; dirt floors, brick walls front and back, unfinished slats of wood, positioned apart from one another to allow in the light and fresh air, on either side.
Doesn’t sound too promising, does it? But inject into that space a group of bright, energetic young South Sudanese boys and girls, and a teacher who has many natural gifts for the vocation of teaching, who is receiving splendid preparation at STTC, and who is full of energy and enthusiasm, and you have the ingredients with which something good can happen even when so much is lacking. The first teacher we visited, Simon, was teaching “P4”, Primary School, what many of us would recognize as “Fourth Grade”. XXX had prepared an excellent lesson plan and was quite engaging as he spoke to his students, who numbered more than fifty in this small space. He spoke to the class as a whole, and frequently asked for feedback: “Do you understand?” At which we would hear a resounding “YES!”. Simon also approached individual students and asked them questions, or invited them up to the board to compose sentences or to make other contributions. The lesson went by quickly, and the students sang for Sister Jacinta and as we bid our farewell.
The second teacher we visited, Umemboa, was teaching “P6”, Primary School, Sixth Grade. At first glance, his classroom seemed a bit larger and with better lighting. Nevertheless, it was filled with students. Umemboa was equally engaging, energetic, and enthusiastic as he taught his class.
So many beautiful faces of South Sudanese girls and boys. The students were dressed in their school uniforms or other bright colors. All of them had broad smiles and they were eager to meet and greet Sister Jacinta and me and to welcome us to their school.
Nov 10, 2021
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