I participated in an internship program with UNILIME Foundation. The programme was designed to run for six weeks in a community called Boso in the Eastern region of Ghana. I interned alongside five other international interns, two guys from Burkina Faso and three ladies who were also from Japan. It is from this great experience that I want to share one story.
The main activity of the project, besides other trainings and trips that were embarked on was to teach children in both primary and junior high school through some form of vacation classes. Prior to the initiation of the teaching sessions with the children, we needed to be trained as teachers. First, we learned how the teaching methods in Ghana were; what rules or principles of teaching, peculiar to basic schools were applied and how to control children especially. The training session was facilitated by Mr. Otu who was originally a teacher in the school we were to teach in.
Subsequently, we had to practice what we were taught; which I would like to call practical training. We chose one topic of our choice in either Integrated Science or Mathematics, constructed lesson notes within 15 minutes and had our trial class. For me, it was really tough. It was my first time ever teaching someone and knowing I could not speak English very fluently, I found that very challenging. When I heard about the activity, I was so full of fear. Fast-forward, I was done with my trial class and just as I had expected, my trial class was terrible. I collapsed under stress. After the practice, I dreadfully held back my tears. I felt frustrated rather than sad. At that time, I pledged not to feel bitter again, and to consciously improve myself.
Through facing my bitter experience and assessing what had happened earlier, I noticed that the reason for my failure was because I was distracted by the fear of mistakes that I was probably not going to make. It is almost like telling yourself ‘I Lost’ even before you get into a challenge or fight. I also thought that I should have been more open; had confidence in myself despite my shortcomings in English. My English was not that bad after all.
Fortunately, I had the chance to do another trial class the next day. I had improved both mentally and in terms of my teaching skills due to my understanding of my failure the previous day.
Now, I’m grateful to the members of UNILIME Foundation for the opportunity to learn and to teach; and even more grateful to the students who cooperated with the trial class and those who did not, for having made the opportunity even harder to grasp and hence an interesting one. The disappointing experience made me stronger. I anticipated encountering more obstacles in this project, but I knew I would get over them one by one.
By: Yuya Takahashi