You Won't Mind Teaching History Will You?

Some of my AMAZING Art students
(I miss you guys!)

Part 1 - Position Available
Part 2 - The Year was 1999
Part 3 - Red Dirt or Green Grass
Part 4 - Preparations and Going the UK
Part 5 - But I's Dark and it's only 4.30pm!
Part 6 - Laying Out the Fleece
Part 7 - Oh, That's Why We're Here!
Part 8 - Shakin in my long skirt and sandals

The next few weeks settling into our new house in Niamey (left) are a bit of a blur to me. I know we spent a few weeks preparing for the school year which started only a couple of weeks after we'd arrived and I know we met a lot of people and had meals with a lot of people but I can't remember much more than that.

Niamey was pretty much what we had been expecting, dusty, dry, poor and very busy (and overrun with goats, sheep, camels and donkeys). We immediately thought we were living in Bible times. To be honest, we either didn't have time for culture shock or had prepared so well for it that we didn't get it. I suppose we expected such a big contrast and got it. We knew we weren't there for a holiday.

Only a month before we arrived in Niger I was asked to teach year 11/12 History. I had only prepared to teach 1-12 Art so this was a bit of a challenge. Basically, due to the lack of qualified teachers anyone who had a gap in their teaching week was given as many hats as they could handle.

This was to be my first big challenge. Sahel Academy is an English speaking MK school situated in Niamey, Niger. Niger is a French speaking, mainly Islamic country which is currently the poorest in the world.

When we arrived I was given the History text book and the accompanying Teacher's textbook (students in my class) . I was then to work my way through the book as far as possible by the end of the school year. Good thing I like history and I'd done it in yr 11 and 12 myself (and got a B!!).

Along with this I was to teach Art to the whole school and Michael was to teach year 10/11 Maths (pictured marking work below right) and yr 7-12 computing. In second semester he also taught PE (if you know him you'll know that this wasn't his strong point!). What a challenge. First we had to work out how to do lesson plans, then how to set assignments, exams and how to mark them. The qualified teachers there were wonderful and assisted us along the way.

Before I go on to describe some of the interesting, wonderful and challenging (dangerous) experiences we had during our year in Niger I will say this. Is it fair that MK's have to be taught core subjects by non-qualified teachers? I don't think it is BUT many teachers won't go overseas (some do of course and they are a wonderful blessing). There are those Christian teachers who don't see this as their calling, are afraid of living in a situation like that of Niger or are simply unable to physically go.

If you are a Christian teacher can I ask you to seriously pray about serving in this overseas context. Will you pray about short-term MK teaching? Will you pray about long-term MK teaching, afterall consistency is what kids need right? Yes, this is a challenge, please consider the amazing role you will have with these kids and the blessing you will be to their parents in allowing them to stay in their missionary capacities because someone is teaching their kids. If you have a list of excuses a mile long (which sound like genuine reasons not to go) will you pray through the list and ask the Lord to help you with your fears and worries? Afterall, I made it through Niamey airport in one piece and if I can go (and I've got my own list of fears STILL) then anyone can.


Anonymous Keith said...

Always enjoy seeing West Africa here. Just to let you know i have put up a permanent link to you from my blog.
best wishes

5:58 pm  
Blogger sherry said...

Wow Amanda! Either you are one of the most gifted art teachers on the planet, or you chanced into some terrifically talented students (or maybe both!) There is some impressive art at the top of this post. I have really enjoyed this series on how you and your husband began your SIM mission.

12:30 pm  

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