Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Education here in Ghana means something way different than it does in America. It cost a lot of money for a child to go to school. They not only need to pay the schooling fee but for a uniform and all supplies too, as well as find a way to get there every day.
You are very blessed if you are one of the lucky ones that can afford school. If your family can not afford to pay for you to go to school, often kids will find things to sell in the market or beg for money. When children go and sell in the market they give half the money they make to their parents and keep half. It takes a long time to make the money for school but there is much determination to go to school in Ghana.
Because school is such a privilege the students go to learn (nothing else). Since the students value school so much there is not much goofing off in the classroom. Well, that and the schools are very strict, so you do not want to be punished in the school system.
The students walk to school every day; the day starts at 6:30am and goes until 1:30pm; it often stops for a break but not lunch. The students sit 2 to a desk and the teacher stands up in front and lectures all day. It is pretty much all memorization (I would fail in school here) and if a student does not understand, well there are just not many resources here to help them.
Wow, I am not use to that. I love to work with students one on one and move around, get up and play some games, do some projects, ask questions and basically have fun. Having Fun is Learning! Well, my little motto here is a very new concept to Ghanaians. I am trying to quickly, but culturally respectfully, work in some fun learning experiences. I am doing things like making art projects, sorting and feeling objects, math games, field trips and I am even going to bring out Uno. Yes, Uno is educational. It is all about problem solving, critical thinking, taking turns, sharing and working with others, competition, following rules, number order, reading Braille and learning how to have fun.
Come to think of it I really have taken my education for granted. My schooling was a trying time for me but I have made it almost all the way through college. I would not have been able to do it without my parents, dedicated teachers and fun learning. So thank you Mom and Dad; and thank you to all teachers and professors that helped me through my education and made it possible for me to be here now to help these students. You have made a difference in the world by making a difference in me.
If you have been through primary school you are blessed and if you have gone through secondary school you are privileged so rejoice and if you get a chance thank your teachers. (I expect all of second hour to thank Mr. Schanz)
Oh and Prof. Meyer, about your comment on coming home… I do still have to graduate and I promised my mom I would come home at least for a short while… Who knows where I will end up next :)