Teacher Stories: Aguer - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Published by
Teachers College, Columbia University
Published
Topic(s)
Teachers
Teacher Professional Development
Refugees
English

This story was collected as part of Teachers in Crisis Contexts (TiCC) Event Series to ensure that the voices and experiences of teachers working in crisis and displacement permeate all aspects of the event. For more stories, click here.


Teaching in Kakuma - What’s It Like?

Name: Aguer Mayen

Role: Teacher

School: Fugi Primary School

Location: Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

 

Video Transcript (English):

My name is Aguer Mayen, a teacher in Fuji Primary School in Kakuma Refugee Camp. I enjoy teaching in this school or in this camp since I love interacting with learners since learners come from various backgrounds and different cultures - it is a multinational camp. So I learn from them as they learn from me as well. As I grow in my teaching profession, I have come across some  challenges that these learners are facing - challenges related to child protection (e.g. child marriage, early marriage, early pregnancy, school dropout because of various issues, drug abuse and also so many of them.) But I have been able to intervene - I have come across so many learners and I have discussed with them the reasons as to why they drop out. So we have seen the root causes of these dropouts, we have discussed with them and they were able to come back to school and continue with education. And some of them are mostly in high school now - some of them are in Form 2 and Form 3 and they usually come back to thank me. So therefore I feel so important and enjoyable  because if I can offer something to these learners, then I think there is more to come from me to offer to these kids.

Despite teaching being so enjoyable, there are so many challenges that we are encountering in this kind of environment. One of the biggest challenges that we are facing currently is that there are large classroom sizes because you’ll find one class having one hundred and fifty plus learners in the same classroom. And these learners… not only that they are many but also they have different needs - diverse needs. They have no educational background since they came from their home countries so they don’t know the language of instruction; they don’t know how to read. So it is up to you as a teacher to cater for all the needs of the learners in this classroom. And also, you find it hard because the seating arrangement in the class doesn’t allow the teacher to go around the classroom, looking to find the need of every learner in that class… it is very challenging because after the end of the lesson, it is only few learners who are actually getting the content very well. Also, if you come out of the class, it will make the teacher to create another schedule for - creating the remedial lessons for these learners. This is one of the biggest challenges out of the many challenges that we have in the camp. 

Now what I would have loved the whole world to know about teaching and life in Kakuma refugee camp is that teaching is a call and a profession of most teachers. But sometimes, it is not very easy because teachers lack support in terms of training on various topics like teacher professional development and some other areas. And learners too have different challenges that teachers who have no support like the trainings cannot be able to handle. And in this case, it would have been good if the teachers - because most of them love teaching and it is their profession - they will always be willing to come back to school to teach if they get some support.

For more information on the Teachers for Teachers Initiative, click here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.