Teacher Stories: Tanzina Siddika, Bangladesh

Teacher Professional Development

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

Name: Tanzina Siddika 

Role: Teacher

School: Dream-2, Camp-18 

Location: Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Tanzina Siddika (22 years) is a Bangladeshi national who resides in the host community. She has been teaching in a learning centre inside the Rohingya camp for the last four years. After graduating her Higher Secondary School (HSC) exam from a local college in Cox’s Bazar, young Tanzina started teaching in the crisis context receiving a three-day basic training as a teacher in December 2017. 

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English Transcript: 

Q: Sister Tanzina, we are talking with you today to ask you some questions regarding the TPD training that you received. What kind of professional development training have you received so far as a teacher?

A: Actually, the training we received at the beginning under TPD was Foundation, Life Skills, and SEL training. In addition, today I started a six-day training in Math, Science, and English.

Q: All right. That's fine, thank you. Besides training, have you received anything else for your professional development? As a teacher, have you received anything else that you thought was good for your development?

A: Yes, for example, they gave us a journal. If we face any difficulties while conducting a class, we record them in the journal and then share those issues in the TPD trainings.

Q: All right. Who do you share them with?

A: We share them with our trainers. Also, we share what we learn from the TPD trainings with our colleagues at the TLC, and then the colleagues share those with the students.

Q: All right. Now, what I would like to know from you is, do you think the professional development training that you received have benefited you as a teacher? Do they have any impact on you?

A: Yes, they definitely have an impact. For example, my demonstration skill was somewhat poor. After the trainings, this has improved a lot. So the trainings have a great impact on improving my demonstration skill. It has improved a lot.

Q: Now, what are the benefits you are getting with this improved skill? Where are you applying this improved skill?

A: I can now apply this at the LC. I can easily apply this [skill] to the children.

Q: Besides these, are there any other skills you have gained
through the trainings that you can apply?

A: For example, for the activities we do in the training, large groups, group work, small groups, pair work, cross-check. In the training, we learn through these activities and then we can apply it to the students at the LC. So learning becomes more enjoyable to the children. If a few more methods were included,  it would be more beneficial for teachers in the classroom.

Q: So you want more class management methods from the training. Thank you, sister. Sister, what do you like the most about being a teacher?

A: As a teacher, what I like the most is, for example, when I teach a lesson, and then I get feedback that I taught them. And when I assess them and see they can easily give the answer, I like that very much.

Q: As a teacher, you feel good.

A: Yes, I feel proud that as a teacher, I could give something to the students. And what I do not like is when the children become noisy.

Q: Sister, now my question is, what are the challenges you face as a teacher?

A: When we are in the classroom, we find it difficult to understand the students' mentality, as they have come from a different place and also left their homes. Because of this, they look somewhat distressed. This sometimes becomes a challenge for us to understand.

Q: Is there anything else that you face while teaching in the classroom?

A: Yes, when we prepare lesson plans for Math, English, etc., all of them are in English, which we find difficult. So our English language skill needs to be improved. We face difficulties with English, so if there were more English training, that would be good.

Q: What difficulties do you face and when? Is it when you prepare your lesson plans?

A: Definitely when we prepare the lesson plans and when we teach the children in the classroom. When we try to prepare completely before class, we face difficulties, as everything is in English.

Q: What type of difficulties do you face?  Is it a comprehension problem?

A: Yes, understanding English texts is of course difficult.

Q: Sister, would you tell about an event where you faced a challenge?

A: For example, I picked up the student workbook given as TGB to prepare lesson plans, but I found out that everything was written in English. It's okay that everything was in English, but the words were very hard and I found it difficult to understand. So if we could receive training on English or spoken English, that would be very helpful for us, especially for teaching, preparing lesson plans or others.

Q: I get what you mean. That's okay, sister.

Q: One last question. What else can be done to support the teachers better? So to improve professional development, what are the changes you would like to see as a teacher? What would be beneficial for you and your colleagues? You can answer in light of the qualities needed to become a good teacher. You can talk about what additions would be helpful for professional development.

A: For example, including [training on] language skills, communication skills, subject-based skills, and also we need to be patient. Also, training on understanding the psychology of the students would be very helpful.

Q: I understand. Do you want to give any other examples where you could apply something you have learned from the training?

A: I can talk about the demonstration skill.

Q: Please, say.

A: Yes, I used to be confused during training. I would find the presentation especially problematic, but after so many training sessions, it has become easy. Now I can apply my demonstration skills much better in the classroom.

Q: All right.