Why do the kids need help with English and Reading?
Like most kids in Southern Africa the ones here in South Luangwa are keen to learn but the Education Board's funds are limited resulting in inadequate infrastructure and too few teachers. Whilst English is Zambia's official language it is the second language for most Zambians and few children in rural areas can speak any English when they start school.
During grade 1 lessons are all taught in the local language and it is not until grade 2 that English is introduced. By the end of Grade 3 all lessons are supposed to be taught in English, but when it is not spoken at home it becomes hard for these children to gain enough language skills to be able to cope with learning other subjects in a second language.
The shortage of text books (often there is just one for the whole class) hinders learning to read and often children are faced with learning to read at the same time as reading to learn (and in a second language too). A poor start often leads to problems for pupils in secondary grades; they find it hard to understand their subjects and have difficulty in keeping up which is reflected in their exam results.
What level needs to be taught?
The level of competency of a rural Zambian child in either written or spoken English will not match that of an equivelent grade pupil in a school in a developed country. For older pupils it's sometimes all about when to use capital letters and full stops, or about sentence construction and simple comprehension. For others in may be verbs and tenses. Young children need help with letter sounds and the alphabet and everyone needs help with their reading.
Where shall I stay?
Sometimes it is possible to stay at a lodge (at your own cost) but it is also possible to stay in a village as a guest of the Head Teacher.
Where will I teach?
Sometimes you may teach in a classroom at a Basic or Community School or even at desks set out under the trees.
How many pupils will I teach?
It is not unusual to find 100 children in a class here but, don't worry, we won't expect you to teach classes as large as that. you can work with smaller classes or groups and can work that out with the Head teacher at the school. Kids don't expect individual attention so our small classes are quite a novelty.
When can I come?
We need teachers all year round so click here for the calendar. Remember that October and November are hot and sticky.
In Zambia the school day starts early around 6:40 or 7am and most kids will attend for just a morning which leaves their afternoons free for other activities. However, in some schools, where overcrowding is a problem, classes may be split with some kids attending for the morning whilst others learn in the afternoon. Whilst this timetable may be very different to the one you are used to it does allow us to hold these clubs during the school day. Children will rarely have breakfast before coming to school and most go home for lunch (if they are lucky) and this may be their only meal of the day. Kids will also have many chores to do both before and after school.