Friday, 3 June 2011
A day in the life of a TTC methodology and resources trainer
At our TTC volunteer gathering on Monday we discussed describing a day in the TTC for the new volunteers. It is different for all of us, so I thought I’d start by describing my typical day (if there is any such thing!) At 7.40 I leave my house, usually with a backpack of stuff on my back. I make the 5 minute walk to work. Children often follow me to the TTC dressed in their blue dresses and mustard coloured shorts and trousers, and I usually take the opportunity to practise my Kinyarwanda with them. I shake hands with quite a variety of people along the dirt track, and I often get my legs bear hugged by a few very cute pre-schoolers.
When I arrive I walk to the secretary’s office to sign my name. The working day officially starts at 8. If I do not have a class for the first period, like today, I walk to the Teacher’s resource centre (TRC) and do some resource making or lesson planning. Today I taught a lesson on disability to two senior 6 classes in the second and third periods. Senior 6 are the eldest students in the TTC, in their last year of upper secondary school. At the end of October they will be either leaving to become Primary school teachers or they may go on to further education.
As the topic was disability I set to work with finding various ways of simulating disability with my students. I wanted them to begin to know how it would feel to be disabled. There is very little awareness here of the rights of disabled children so apart from being a bit of fun this was really intended as an empathy building exercise. Some of the things they had to do was pick up pieces of corn with their fingers taped together, write the alphabet blindfolded, catch with one arm and standing on one leg and respond to instructions written back to front and with the letters the wrong way around. I have to say that this was definitely the most fun lesson I’ve done. It was great to see such energy from the students and genuine smiles! One student said ‘it was very interesting’ and I couldn’t agree more. I was surprised by how well they could catch with one arm behind their back and standing on one leg!
After teaching my lessons I head to the staffroom for break time. This is the most social time of the day as all of the staff are there. We drink some African tea and sometimes we have bananas to eat. The African tea is loaded with milk and sugar and although it took me a while to get used to it I now wouldn’t be without my morning sugar fix. The staffroom is busier than usual because we have trainee TTC/Secondary teachers doing placements at our college at the moment. My camera causes quite a stir so one of the tutors asked me to take a picture of him. He is stood with the staff notice board in the background in case you were wondering what that was!
I then go to the computer room to search the newly installed internet for images related to disability in school for senior 6’s lesson next week. I check my email quickly before heading to the secretary’s office armed with my flashdrive in the hope I can print. My luck was in today. By now its lunchtime. I head home as all the tutors in my TTC go home for lunch. I re-heat last night’s pasta dish on my hotplate, eat up and then go back to work.
In the afternoon I had no classes today so I made some bottle top counting strings and started to plan for next week. I discovered that the bursar has a colour printer so I printed off some photos of the students at work from this morning for making a photograph display. I know the students will love it! I also discovered a brand new globe still in its box and some plastic 3D shapes covered in dust at the bottom of a box which I will clean and use in the TRC. Its amazing what you find. Because many organisations send just stuff rather than people to explain the stuff, things tend to sit around unused because no one really knows what they are (including me at times, I hasten to add!). After doing a bit more resource making its nearly 5pm so I tidy up and head home along the dirt track, saying my usual round of greetings in French, Kinyarwanda and English.
I then usually relax for a bit with a cup of tea before trying to make dinner. Sometimes I’ll write my blog, sometimes I’ll have a Kinyarwanda lesson, otherwise I’ll learn some French, watch some TV on my hard drive or read a book. Before long its time for bed and another day!
The students try to pick up corn with their fingers taped together