This month, we talk to Mercy Ehimika, the owner of ‘Unique Rhema International School,’ a low-cost private school located in Abuja, Nigeria.
So, tell us how a school owner heard about Teach2030?
I got to know about Teach2030 in a WhatsApp group with Joyce (one of our Teach2030 Ambassadors, based in Nigeria). I had never met her before, although we live in the same environment. A link was sent to me about Teach2030 and I did the online courses. After I completed them, I contacted Joyce and told her that I would like her to come around to take my teachers physically through a course.
What does Teach2030 training involve and what impact is Teach2030 having on your teachers?
The particular training that was important was the Growth Mindset course. That was the course that I took online and I loved it because for a teacher to have a growth mindset and be able to implement it in the learners is a great achievement. I wanted my teachers to take the course, so that they could implement it into their classrooms. The teachers were able to achieve it and it has encouraged them not to have a fixed mindset. The fixed mindset of the team is them being comfortable with where they are and them not thinking, so taking the course has had a really good effect.
This morning, I was able to speak with some of the teachers. They have completed some more courses online with Teach2030 and they really like their impact because they are able to adapt it into the classroom and assess the learners’ abilities. The pupils and the learners are more confident in themselves for what they are learning from the teachers. It is a process and it has having a really great impact.
The atmosphere of the school has changed. It has become more positive. Before Teach2030, we struggled to bring resources to the classroom and to know how to bring up the learners’ abilities. Teachers are now able to implement new ideas and adjust to see a way to help these learners to understand the process.
What Teach2030 strategies are you observing in your teachers?
Last week, I was in a class and a child was trying to get something right. It was an entrepreneurship class and the child was trying to learn where to put footmarks on their own. They could see nowhere to put it, so we encouraged the child to try. Unlike before, the teacher did not tell the child, ‘oh, you are wrong.’ This time, the teacher was very politely telling the child, ‘you can do it better.’
Other children have done a task and they got 50%. Instead of saying ‘you tried’ and ‘this is ok,’ teachers were saying ‘you can do better.’ It encourages the child. Instead of them having this fixed mindset, they have the growth mindset. They love this approach to teaching. They are used to being marked ‘zero,’ if they do not do something correctly. After the Teach2030 courses, teachers learnt that they cannot just do this, they must encourage the child to do better. The child now keeps trying and trying with teacher help, until they can do it without supervision.
During the PTA on Saturday, the parents came around and we had an exhibition. They were so impressed that the children were able to produce such things. I was very proud.
What advice would you give to other school owners and headteachers about improving professional development for teachers?
I am not done with Teach2030 and I still want to go on with the courses! I want to be able to take my notes and write down information from the videos because I really want to learn. I want to encourage other school learners because most school owners in Nigeria feel that as they have employed the teachers, they must know what they are doing. They have the qualification, so they should be able to deliver whereas actually, the teachers need to continually process their learning in order to fit in with modern teaching and use technology to do that.
The owners of schools should be able to upgrade themselves. It isn’t about the certificate we have. It is about what we know. You are the owner of the school and you have the vision and the mission to know what you want to implement in your school. The owner of the school should be part of Teach2030 courses, so they can upgrade their knowledge also.
For more information on how school owners and headteachers can help your school, take our Teach2030 Headteacher Course.