The African classroom is unlike any other classroom you will find anywhere in the world. While this sounds a little biased, it is a result of various extenuating circumstances. In Africa, you will find children with the utmost appreciation for teachers in nearly every classroom you visit in Africa.
Here are 4 things teachers should know before volunteering in Africa.
Africa has limited educational resources
In Africa, the general class ration is higher than you might have imagined. With an overwhelming number of as many as 60 children per teacher, the one-on-one levels of education make it much more difficult for students who have trouble with comprehension. This prevents students from reaching their full potential and attention needed to progress. Unfortunately, the school system has a literacy rate of less than 50%.
Depending on the school and where you teach, the number of school desks and chairs will vary and often be less than the needed amount for students. This forces students to sit on the floor, share chairs, and even on the desks. There is also a limited supply of materials and textbooks, which causes lessons to take much longer than you would expect.
Their outside lives shows within the classroom
Most students attending township schools often come from low-economic backgrounds and struggle with poor home environments. As a volunteer teacher, you will need to be prepared on how to deal with such experiences and difficulties in learning. Students many often complain of hunger, because they were not able to eat breakfast or dinner the night before. As a result, fatigue and low sense of energy will not be uncommon.
In fact, many students will travel long distances to attend such schools and end up traveling for as many as three hours each way.
Backgrounds will vary
Africa is a melting pot of different cultures and people. With this fact, it makes it such an interesting place to teach. Students will have different views and responses to the situation. With that said, the key is to embrace the new culture through sights, sounds, and opportunities.
It is important to remember that while English is taught as the official language in politics and business, it isn’t the same in Africa. In fact, English is rarely used in most areas in comparison to native languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. It is important to note that while you may be teaching English in Africa, you will need to expand your language skills.
The communities welcome foreign teachers
While there is a negative perception of the characters you meet on the streets, the community respects volunteer teachers who try to help improve their children’s education and the conditions of the community. You must prepare for sudden invitations, small talk, and conversations with children. Allow yourself to enjoy some of the life’s simple pleasures and challenge yourself to experience the incredible depths of teaching.
Do you plan to volunteer in Africa? What are your thoughts on volunteering? Comment below and share your comments with us!