"I can only teach when there are children to teach. I can only build when there are lives to build," a principal says with conviction as she stands in front of her community of parents and learners. She was braced to hand over her power to the parents.
I realised that teachers, like any missionary workers, are strangers to the community and need to be accepted in the community. Who would have foreseen that after obtaining your qualifications in the profession of being an educator, you still had to prove yourself to the community. Let alone a community far from being educated itself! A commendable trait, as it shows community concern about the people, they have put in place to educate their most precious – the children.
When you leave university, no one prepares you to convince a less educated, but concerned community member that you mean well and can do the work. How can you, after dealing with methodologies, models, and theories to hone your craft, find yourself not in front of higher learning experts when called to prove yourself worthy? This realisation took a long time to dawn on me. And it fascinated me!
Teachers must deal with a lot. From the parent, the child, and an established community culture. On top of that, one must not discount the established family culture. Culture is crucial because teachers must operate within the norms already in place. Recently, Each1Feed1 met a principal available on a Saturday. (This is refreshing because as donors, we’ve encountered principals too busy with “work” and could not do anything outside work hours.) It was evident that she had captured the heart of her adopted community.
This woman inspired me. She knew what was important. Beyond herself, her education, or the privilege that comes with her work or salary. She knew her responsibility and was passionate about what is right.
“I’m only a teacher because parents brought their children to school,” she said.
That made me contemplate how many of us know and appreciate that we have what we have, because someone else thought it was necessary. Makes you think. Do I know my purpose? Do I understand why I’m here? Am I the right one? Oh well...
And here we find this lady on a Saturday at work and ready to serve. Even though it was not about her – she pushed. Because of her efforts, a community member mother of nine children staying in a shack got a house built with brick and mortar. A brick-and-mortar house, a fence and gate to boot! Because of the principals’ efforts – this mother of nine could proudly claim her space in the community, bringing dignity to herself and the eyes of her neighbours, who for so long viewed her as “poor”. Because the principal went the extra mile, her efforts resulted in her engaging with Hulamin and Ride4Hope who built the house. And invited Each1Feed1 to provide food to community members in need.
Be inspired by passion, be inspired by where you are and what you can do.