Diaries of a Ripples Intern – Teaching Experience

By Daphne Visser
Undergraduate Philosophy, Childhood and Education studies

This summer I was given the opportunity to travel to Nigeria to intern with Ripples USA. During my stay I have kept a dairy that i want to share with all of you. In this way I hope to be able to take you along on my journey and inspire all that want to help empower the African village women. This week I will be sharing my experiences in Ogidi. This is the second part of my story.

Of course I had not only come to Ogidi to get accustomed with Yoruba culture, and I soon started my work in the Town Hall which had been transformed into a School. I had little experience in Teaching; I had been an athletic coach for quite some time in my days as a teenager and had some experience as a home tutor. I knew this was nothing in comparison with actual teaching, where you have to try to bring information across in a creative, lively and understandable way. I was terrified. Questions such as how would I be able to teach and even direct a whole School Project flashed across my mind. However, time is uncompromising and it soon became Monday 8 o’clock.

When we arrived at the town hall I was astonished to see that there were no children, and the little courage that I still had abandoned me. Little did I know about the power of this strong community. With three calls, all the teachers were notified, and before I knew it children started showing up. We were ready to begin. Being confronted with almost 120 children that are eagerly looking at you, expecting you to teach them was a humbling experience. Through this experience I have gained so much gratitude and respect for all the teachers that accompanied me and for all my teachers, who have effortlessly guided me through my education.

Teaching is definitely hard. After each day’s 6 hours teaching, I sat with the local Teachers for an evaluation meeting, after which – if I still had some energy left – I had to prepare all the lesson plans. Besides, one has to make sure that the children are listening and understand what you’re saying. On the other hand the children give you so much energy; like the first time that a student, after some guidance, understands an exercise, or that moment when everyone suddenly grasps a notion that you have been explaining to them! Being able to practice reading and writing with them made me understand their struggles and talents. Teaching really helped me understand the culture, the community and eventually the children better, and I am so grateful that I was able to have this wonderful experience.

Stay tuned for the last part!

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