School is in Session

By Katie Frain

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Katie Frain reads to a group of young pre-primary students at St. Jude’s in Jinja (photo: Paula Longo)

Jinja, Uganda– The first half of this week consisted of visiting several different primary schools. I don’t think I have ever had such warm welcomes in my life! I was continually amazed by all the hard work the students and teachers put in to prepare for our arrival. These performances were so elaborate and well-rehearsed that they made me feel guilty, in a way, because it isn’t like I am royalty or something, I’m just an average college student. You could tell how excited they were to have us as guest and I truly hope our visit lived up to the performance they gave us.

Being at the primary schools was so exhilarating for me. Being able to experience the passion both the students and teachers have was incredible. It was interesting to me to see the teaching styles and the students dedication to learning. I loved experiencing some of the different energizes that the teachers had the students do. I can only imagine having to manage such large classes, but seeing how the teachers got the students up and moving and then right back to learning was amazing to me. At Shippensburg, I learned how important and useful energizers can be to help children get the blood flowing a little during the lessons. Being able to see that implemented here was phenomenal. I have definitely learned some energizers to use in my future classroom.

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Katie Brunwasser visits with a group of students at Holy Cross Lakeview Secondary School in Jinja (photo: Paula Longo)

The second half of the week, we visited secondary schools. Even though my passion is to teach the younger grades, I looked forward to hearing the aspirations of these students, I found out the these students wanted to me doctors,lawyers, government workers, teachers, even architects. It warmed my heart that these students had such high dreams for themselves and were working so hard to make them into realities. I loved being able to listen to their hopes and dreams and answer some of their questions.

Even though I loved going to these schools, learned so much and am having a great time here, it can be pretty difficult at times. It is heartbreaking to see some of these children going through some hard times. I just want to be able to help so many of them. How is it that some children are going hungry, but then offer us food or that I have four pairs of shoes on this trip and there are kids going to to school without any? I love being able to see the joy on their faces when I show them a picture of themselves, but what do I do when they ask if they can keep my camera? These are just some questions that make me realize just how fortunate I have been my whole life and just how many things that I have taken for granted.

One thought on “School is in Session

  1. Hi Katie,
    I know that it is touching you in deep ways to realize that “making do with the basics” is one thing in the United States, but quite another in the countries of Africa. When I was in the Peace Corps in Chad, I was a bit bewildered to look out at my sea of students and see 80 bodies, 78 or 79 of them males. Girls were cheated out of education so much and yet the few girls I taught seemed eternally grateful for the opportunity they enjoyed. Africa teaches us where the blessings lie and why we can never take some things for granted again.

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