Teachers Transform Lives

3 October 2019

Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world. Every teacher has the opportunity to shape the lives of tens of thousands of children over the course of their career. They have the opportunity to help their communities and ultimately nations build a stronger and more hopeful future.  

In many developing countries teachers  are frequently left isolated in remote communities where they are responsible for very overcrowded classrooms. If they have an actual classroom at all. Often, they have few teaching resources and struggle to understand the content they teach. Despite this they are expected to improve learning outcomes and lay the foundation for the prosperity of both their communities and countries. Governments and multi-laterals are focused on the urgent necessity of improving learning outcomes in their states and countries and SDG4. Yet, is it reasonable to expect teachers to excel if they are not equipped to do so? To be present whether anyone in government notices or not? To expect learning outcomes to improve if those doing the teaching have little to no training, support or materials.

Ultimately, the quality of education delivered is tied to how well a teacher is set up to succeed in her classroom. Due to low quality teaching, around 600 million children are today in a school where they are not learning even the basics. The status-quo the world over is that teachers are often held accountable for outcomes without always being given the support and coaching they need to develop and succeed.

We know that it doesn’t have to be like this; better support systems can be put in place for teachers on existing government budgets. This isn’t a question of additional funding; it’s a question of using existing funding more effectively. The #TeachersTransformLives has been launched to advocate for better teacher training and professional development — showing how all teachers can be supported and empowered to succeed in the classroom. 

Teachers Transform Lives focuses on seven films that tell the stories of  of Laura, Ibrahim, Cecilia and Simon, Prema, Madhavi and Prince who have all transformed the way they teach due to better training, support and materials and are now transforming young lives.

In East Africa, Laura focuses on the better outcomes she’s achieving; while Ibrahim delights in saying that ‘it’s working for us’! Laura is passionate about impacting children directly and says that she is a better teacher now that she has more training and support. Her teaching techniques are much better, giving her more confidence in the classroom. With all the teacher support she now enjoys she has: “seen the children responding better, learning more and learning faster.”

Prince and Simon work in West Africa, teaching in Liberia and Nigeria respectively. They choose to focus on the difference that taking a child centered approach makes. Prince says “my teaching is more interactive because I have to get every student involved in the lesson.”  Simon agrees, pointing out that it helps children to have an ‘open heart for learning and it helps them to learn faster.’ 

In Andhra Pradesh, Prema and Madhavi’s say it’s the resources and guidance that makes the biggest difference. They are excited to be in the classroom with teaching has changed since they started using textbooks, lesson plans and materials that all link together and are aimed at the age of the children she is teaching. Prema says that the lessons are ‘more interactive’ and that ‘all the resources are linked up to the lessons very well’. Madhavi agrees and says that the feedback also helps her ‘we didn’t get this feedback in other schools but here in this school, I am learning. Everything is really supporting me and my skills are improving.’

These teachers represent the tens of thousands of teachers who have been supported and empowered in some of the most impoverished classrooms in Africa and Asia. Whether they are talking about the teacher training programme; the improved outcomes they have seen in their classes; the excitement of using new teaching teachers or the benefits of better resources, guidance, coaching and support; they are all feeling extremely positive about the job that they do each day and the difference they are making.

Cecilia from Lagos sums it up, now she is “Proud to be a teacher anywhere, anytime.”

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