Entry #34: Romasa College Visit! Student Teaching and Practicum

Date: 20 June 2019
Time: 7:11pm
Location: Tokyo Dorm

Started in IT at an elementary school, now I’m teaching entrepreneurship for the youth in Uganda 🙂

Wait, you’re a teacher now? I thought you were Agriculture and Business!

This visit to Romasa college was basically a trial run is a sort of practical training for us in what’s called a needs assessment.

A needs assessment, in summary, is about meeting with a potential group of people whom we will try to help out by noticing if there is anything they need help with anything. It’s like being a therapist, but for the problems you didn’t know you had in business or agriculture… kinda.

It’s obviously a bit more complicated than that, but let’s roll with this definition for now.

For our practical exercise, our cohort of AED trainees chose to conduct a needs assessment with local farmers groups or a local school for young adults (12 years old and up). I chose to go with the school.

Bring me up to speed, what were you doing?

We had two sessions. First session to conduct a needs assessment. Second assessment to perform our teaching.

We actually did the needs assessment last week to get a feel for how the class was. To be honest, we didn’t feel prepared at all. Going in to the classroom, our task was to figure out what the students needed. Our instructions went like this: “Okay so here’s the Senior 1 classroom. They’ve been expecting you! Here you go!”

No introduction, no prompt. Find the problems… aaaand, go. It was tough, to say the least, haha.

Last week, visiting the classroom we asked the students a bunch of questions like what they learn in school, what they want to do after graduating, and what they like about Uganda. It was a lot to take in and we had a lot of information to work with.

The students were quite shy at first, but after breaking the ice with some open-ended questions like about sports or their future, it started getting much better. From all of this information, we tried to make a lesson plan to incorporate the goals of both AED in teaching nutrition and business and addressing the student’s needs.

After working with my partner, Sam, we had visited the school again to talk about entrepreneurship.

So how was teaching!!

I was anxious out of my mind, but it was super fun 🙂

To be quite honest, I was nervous going in the first time last week, and even more so during the second visit. The questions going on in my mind were like:

  • What if the kids don’t like me teaching?
  • What if the kids don’t even care about entrepreneurship?
  • Why am I even here, I didn’t sign up for teaching!

A waterfall of emotions were kind of washing through me from the initial visit, but what had pulled me through was the fact that these kids wanted to FREAKIN’ LEARN.

Our lesson started off with teaching them how to say some phrases in Spanish and Korean which helped to segue in to the topic of skill acquistion, mindset of learning, and finally entrepreneurship. Linking all of these topics together, the goal was to teach them about why they might consider making money on the side for themselves.

For some history, it’s quite hard to make money in Uganda the job market is so small. About 400,000 citizens are ready to apply for the some 7,000-9,000 jobs available. Therefore, making money on the side almost becomes a necessity for their families to live comfortably.

The kids had motivated me to come back because, as nerve-wracking as the experience was, these kids wanted to learn. These kids in Uganda are all-aboard about learning and seeing everything first-hand had changed my perspective of what it means to have an education.

How are you feeling about it now?

I know that I definitely would have to think twice about teaching as a career, haha.

It was a great experience going through teaching because it pushed me to do something incredibly uncomfortable and something I never thought I would be doing. I never envisioned myself to be a teacher for a group of kids in a classroom like this, but I enjoyed it quite a lot.

I don’t mind doing this kind of thing, especially if it’s subject matter on something that I really care about like entrepreneurship, swimming, arts and crafts, or anything that is within my expertise or have ample training in. But as of right now, I think I need a bit more time in training mode to really get a good grasp in teaching, haha.

I’m looking forward to the next time I get to be in this teaching position, and as nervous it makes me to think about it, I know only good things will come out of this entire experience.

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