This post was written by our recent volunteer Zahra Panjwani. We were thrilled to have her here, and she worked with both the nursery students and our adult classes. Read her story about her stay here!
My amazing experience at Tamani
In memory of my beloved grandma Laila Panjwani (Feb 1928- July 2014)
On 7th September 2014 I arrived at Tamani Foundation, Matemwe with the aim of sharing my knowledge and skills as a teacher as well as teaching the children and adults. I have always wanted to do this and I thank God for giving me this wonderful opportunity to do so.
As soon as I set my eyes on Tamani, I fell in love with the caring ethos and beautiful environment. I felt very welcome and immediately wanted to teach. I observed some of the kindergarten children and students and then I started teaching pretty much straight away! I had a set of objectives before I left UK and I wanted to impart as much knowledge and strategies as I could in the short space of time I was there.
I started off teaching phonics to the kindergarten children and I was amazed to see how quickly they grasped how to sound out individual letters and then read the words. I taught them different strategies as phonics is a huge movement in the UK and has been imperative in aiding children’s progress in reading and writing. We did a lot of partner work and they also performed their sounds to the whole class (please check out the videos on the Tamani page). I then showed them how to use a number line to add two numbers together. They also learnt this quickly and it was a proud moment to see them understand the method and use it in their work.
The nursery education would finish at 11am so this gave me the opportunity to give feedback to the teachers and train them further. The teachers were very open to learning new ideas, games and initiatives for their classroom. I showed them how to make their lessons more interactive by involving the children more in their own learning and also using different reward strategies. Then I trained them how to teach phonics in the classroom and how vital it was to teach this to the children everyday.
After the training session with the teachers, I would teach the adults English class. There were over 20 students and they were very willing to learn. They also quickly grasped my style of teaching and I made sure the lessons were interactive. As most of the students were in the hospitality industry or were interested in this field, I thought it was important to plan role plays for them in order to develop their speaking and listening skills. We focussed on clarity, expression and interest for the audience. They did a great job working in groups and performed their role plays to the class (please see the videos).
I also planned various debates which involved the students writing their ideas in groups and then giving their reasons for and against. I was very impressed with their reasoning and the best group was always awarded a trophy by me. We had a lot of fun! I also gave them grammar activities and made sure all students were involved. This helped them to see the correct sentence structure and how to improve their own sentences.
In the evenings, I used to teach English to the IGCSE students, Simba and Yakubu. They were always eager to learn and were a real pleasure to teach. I set them various speaking and listening tasks, comprehension, grammar and writing tasks so that I could assess their progress. I was impressed by their excellent knowledge of grammar and structure of writing. We went over various techniques and vocabulary to secure their understanding as well as making their writing more interesting for the reader.
My typical routine of the day would be as described above and in the evenings I would usually prepare for the next day and then crash out! The lovely chef Duchi would always prepare lovely meals for me so I was never hungry! He should definitely win an award as the presentation of the food was beautiful. The housekeeping crew looked after me well and I thank everyone at Tamani for being so hospitable and friendly. It makes such a difference when you are surrounded by smiling and positive people. Mamasia and Maytham really made me feel part of their family and I enjoyed eating dinner with them in the evenings.
It was a very rewarding experience and one that I shall cherish forever. I already miss the beautiful smiles of the children which used to make my day! I hope to come back and help out whenever I can and continue to build a relationship with Tamani. It is a wonderful project and I hope this initiative can continue long into the future. A project like this always needs manpower and I really recommend that if you are a hard working teacher or volunteer and want to give back to society, please get in touch with Tamani foundation. May God bless them all.