Teacher Stories: Lidia - Nampula Province, Mozambique
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.
More than a wife - Lidia advances her career as an education leader
Name: Lidia Napaua
Role: Bilingual Literacy Trainer
Program: Vamos Ler!/Let’s Read!
Location: Eráti District, Nampula Province, Mozambique
Lidia Napaua is a bilingual literacy trainer working for the Vamos Ler!/Let’s Read! bilingual early grade reading program funded by USAID and led by Creative Associates International and its consortium of partners. In May, she was chosen to join the team of teacher trainers for Eráti District in Nampula Province where 567 of the total 11,038 Vamos Ler! program teachers were being trained.
Along with the limitations and challenges that rural Mozambican teachers face, women face additional obstacles due to cultural attitudes and established gender roles.
After her secondary school studies, Napaua was forced to stay home to care for her family despite wanting to work. She grew up hearing others define a woman’s role in society: don’t get a higher education, take care of the family, serve your husband. This went as far as people telling her she might ruin her marriage, her family’s reputation, and her own social credibility if she pursued a career.
She refused to listen.
“A day I will never forget, is August 10th, 2016 when I was coming home wearing my graduation uniform and holding my diploma. I could see from my neighbors the mixed feelings of shock, surprise, and jealousy while my family walked with me to the house. It was a rewarding feeling of accomplishment after years of disbelief and struggle,” Napaua recalls.
Napaua became an accredited teacher and was identified at Theakane Primary School in Nampula City as a high performing teacher.
While working as a facilitator during the USAID Aprender a Ler (ApaL)/ Learn to Read program, Napaua was recognized to be strong leader by the local education directorates and school management; she was promoted to early grade coordinator and later appointed as a bilingual literacy and numeracy teacher trainer when Vamos Ler! requested experienced teachers from local education directorates. Napaua further showcased her qualifications by receiving high marks on local language reading and writing tests, allowing her to participate in a Vamos Ler! training of trainers in 2018. She proved to be unstoppable and quickly mastered the skills necessary to become a teacher trainer.
“Many teachers come with preconceived notions and a confidence in the monolingual system as many have been teaching children to read Portuguese for years. They believe it will be simple to teach children in their own local language,” says Napaua.
Although most teachers are fluent in their mother tongue, many do not have the experience of formally teaching in their mother tongue or using translated materials in the classroom. Napaua helps trainees understand how to use the new materials and implement strategies that promote student success.
Vamos Ler! introduces teachers to the concept of bilingual literacy and to a focus on the scope and sequence of the mother tongue languages in order to teach children in a progressive learning process. This sequenced and subject-based approach introduces letters and words in small steps to facilitate knowledge retention.
To reinforce the teaching skills that are practiced at the three major annual trainings, the program also organizes literacy workshops that take place monthly for every school cluster. These Saturday sessions are facilitated by a coaching teacher, Napaua being one of them, who helps teachers to review the previous month’s challenges, discuss problem solving techniques, and plan for the next month.
Napaua has grown with the Vamos Ler! program as a teacher trainer and supervisor, but she’s not done yet. Next, she wants to pursue a Master’s degree to become an education researcher in addition to a teacher trainer.
Learning is never done, especially for a teacher.
The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.