At the beginning of my internship, my supervisor informed me that although there would be more than enough to do in M&E, she also wanted me to explore some of the work being done in other divisions. So she initiated conversations about me potentially doing some fieldwork in August. The plan was for me to go with the Monitoring and Quality Assurance team to collect data on a national educational initiative in a rural province. However, a few weeks ago, we realized that the team would not be going as there were some data issues with one of the provinces. We were both disappointed. Nevertheless, my supervisor and I were determined to find an alternative opportunity.
One of the divisions at my organization does a lot of project based work and so most of the staff spends a considerable amount of time in the field. After much conversations, my supervisor and I found an opportunity that I could be a part of. A linguist in the department would be conducting teacher development workshops as part of the Anglo-American Corporate Social Responsibility project in Apel, Limpopo. The project had two components: English and Mathematics. Two specialists would meet with the teachers 4 times per year to conduct workshops, observe and provide classroom support where necessary.
Arrangements were made and we were on our way to Limpopo early Monday morning. We left at 3:30am which was perfect for me because it was 5 minutes AFTER the 100m finals for men in the Rio Olympics. If you know me well, this was VERY important as I HAD to see Usain Bolt retain his title for the 3rd consecutive Olympic Games (#TeamJamaica, #11medals). Anyway, we made it to the workshop location after a 4-hour drive and realized that there was some confusion with the time as no one was there. We drove to one of the schools, worked through the details and was able to start our workshop 2.5 hours after the scheduled time but we managed to get through all the planned activities.
The goal of the workshops was to build upon the teachers’ competencies in delivering various English lessons. This particular workshop discussed how to plan, introduce, execute and conclude a writing lesson. As I am not an expert in teaching English, I also learned a lot from these sessions. After only being in Limpopo for a day, I unfortunately developed a stomach bug and so I was sick for most of the week. Therefore, I missed the second day of the workshop. I was extremely disappointed because I was really looking forward to this experience.
The remainder of my time in Limpopo was spent visiting the schools to observe the teachers. However, I’ll save that for next time. So, stay tuned for the next post which will explore some of the key lessons that I gained from observing the teachers in the classroom.