When I was 16 I was desperate to leave school. I felt that I had ‘outgrown’ the education system and wanted to experience something completely new and different. Instead of studying, I found myself researching all the different things I could be doing with my time instead of being in school. I was quickly drawn to all the various overseas projects offered to under 18 year olds. In particular, one charity encouraged me to believe that I could use the education I’d already been given to benefit someone who didn’t have access to the sort of information that I had. And that really appealed to me. So the more I researched and the more I read about the opportunities I had access to, the more appealing the thought of leaving school and becoming a volunteer became. So as soon as I finished my Highers I immediately applied for a 12 month placement working in an impoverished jungle village in West Africa.
I was almost completely ignorant to the responsibilities I would have as a volunteer teacher, and even more so to the challenges that this would bring. However I slowly became more and more involved in the local primary school and as a result became more attached to the kids. As I got to know the local primary school teachers better, they became more and more willing to give me different responsibilities within the school. Naturally, the more time and effort I invested into my teaching role the more I gained from the experience and over the course of the year, I began to realise what a unique opportunity it is to be a teacher. As I watched different classes and how different teachers worked, it became evident to me that your influence as a teacher into a child’s life can go well beyond the classroom. And I wanted to be a part of that!
After spending this year working alongside qualified teachers but with no actual training myself, I decided that I really wanted to continue this journey, return home and gain the necessary skills and training that I needed to enable me to become a ‘proper teacher’. Through watching different professionals, both at my home primary school and in Lolobi Ashiambi, I’ve gained an understanding of what it looks like to create an exciting learning environment within a classroom and the profound impact that that can have on a child’s life. And now I find myself striving to become a teacher that does this every day, and I can’t wait!