The secondary school in Karaga is a stone’s throw away from my house, and I’m lucky enough to be living with 4 of its students, and near to another 4 that are around my house all the time. Disturbing stories have been reaching my ears as I inquire about their days, that there is only one Science Master (teacher) for the entire school, and even that he is often M.I.A., late, or slow and shallow in his teaching.
Enter Janine, Biology nut extraordinaire.
How could it be that students are being deprived of the chance to effectively study biology? So it’s come to pass that I’ve been tutoring my student friends one on one about osmosis, the nervous system, basic genetics, and more. It’s been a really enjoyable time for me, because I really can’t get enough of talking about biology, and I’ve even been asking my friends if they will be studying biology tonight or if they will study it, just for me. Well, I have been getting some good feedback, and my friend Mutallah has now been asking me independently if I can help him with the topics. He shows me his textbook, which is a general science text including biology, chemistry, physics, and agricultural science, and tells me about the topics he’s covered in the past 2 years of schooling (he’s now in year 3). Maybe not unsurprisingly, he’s only covered about a third of the topics for each year, and maybe only one of the biology topics, despite the fact that he will be rigorously tested on all of them as he tries to complete his diploma next year. Whew.
And as much as I love the one-on-one time where I can really sink my teeth into adequate explanations and analogies of my favourite subject and making sure that my student is understanding every step of the way, I can’t help but think of all of the other students that could also benefit from actually having any dedicated biology time. So here’s my dream. I want to hold open lessons maybe twice a week on the biology topics that are in their textbooks, starting with year one and progressing to the super cool topics by the end of my placement. I want the Karaga secondary school students to know about chromosomes, to understand the electrical nature of our reflexes, and to be knowledgeable about parasite life cycles. I don’t know yet if anyone will show up, but I’m willing to at least put the opportunity out there for my friends, and their peers, to have a chance at learning from a Science Master.