Teaching is hard. Teaching in Burkina Faso in (to my standards) over crowded classrooms, is even harder.
There has been no question of that since I started teaching for the first time last year.
Classroom are crowded; students are sitting 3 to a bench. There is no electricity (which will hopefully change soon), and many students are living here on their own in order to attend because my school is the only public school serving several villages- imagine a village full of unsupervised teens managing their own lives!
Discipline in a class of 50 or more is difficult, and not a day goes by that I’m not telling a child to stop talking while I’m teaching, stop hitting, and to sit down and pay attention.
However, I love these kids. Not every day all day- but these are my kids and I love them.
There are several times when I’ve been freshly exposed to this affection for the hundreds of kids I’ve taugh. For one, when I swelled with pride hearing from the 9th grade English teacher that some of my kids from 8th grade last year are fantastic in English this year. He pointed out two of my best students (one boy and one girl) and I was not surprised that they are phenomenal but was also so proud. I felt even more when I ran into one of those students at market, told her I heard great things about her, and she broke into a huge smile.
Second, when I got a phone call from a student I spent practicing English with over the summer, who is now going to school in Ouaga, that he took an entry exam and got an amazing score. He also calls me periodically just to say hello and tell me he’s doing well in English class- he got a 90% on his last test.
And I feel it when my students from last year great me enthusiastically at school and around town.
So yes, these little (sometimes) monsters get on my nerves, make me upset, and have given me a headache or two but they are so very intelligent, are overcoming great odds to achieve, and will always be my kids.
I wish them all the luck in the world.