We spent the day interviewing most of the pupils at Kawama School. Mr Reader measured their height and weight to calculate their BMI and we then asked them about their health, their living conditions, their family situations and their favourite things about school. We were struck by how many children had lost both parents, and had suffered from malaria. While we had been warned that this may be the case and we were aware of the country’s statistics, it was very emotional to hear it said from a child’s mouth. Many slept on the floor, without mosquito nets, without electricity and without a flush toilet.
We were however so impressed and moved when we heard of their aims for the future: they wanted to be teachers, doctors, nurses, accountants, miners and many other ambitious professions. The majority said that what they enjoyed most about school was learning and we really felt this when we taught them. We then took their photo outside; this caused lots of laughter and amusement to the other children standing around, who shouted the Bemba word for teeth, encouraging those who were not to smile. It was particularly heart-warming to see the faces of the children and their carers light up when they saw their photo. It was an excellent way to introduce ourselves to the children.
We then spent the afternoon speaking with the teachers of the grade
s we would be teaching and learning from them how best to manage the classes. They gave us behaviour strategies, as well as information about what level the pupils were at. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our teaching ideas and prepare for the next day.