Life as a Teacher

I really enjoy teaching. Whether it’s one on one or in a classroom.

I actually wanted to become a teacher but became a youth worker instead. Where we lived the nearest university was at least an hour away. I was married and there was no way I was leaving my husband just to do what I wanted. Then the kids came along and it never happened.

I home schooled our girls and there were a few extra bodies along the way. Now looking back I would do things differently but at the time you do the best that you can. When we moved to Australia in 2002, I gave up the schooling and the youth work as we needed the money and Sydney was way more expensive than Christchurch to live in.

As I’m writing this I’m overseeing 15 students who have completed a 6 week business skills class that I’ve taught. These are young men who only a short while ago where living on the streets of Nairobi. They didn’t finish primary school, but they could be great businessmen if they believe in themselves.

It’s kind of weird how everything from the past 25 years happens just for that moment. I mean, we moved to Aussie, I ended up working in a high school and then went on to working for a university. I got my MBA (Masters of Business Administration) and we started our work in Africa. I’m tutoring kids here and teaching classes. In the next 5 years we’re looking at building a boarding school.


I didn’t even finish high school.

I dropped out at just before my final year. In those days you just walked into a job, not like now.

But I’ve also become the student again.

Each Monday I have Kiswahili lessons with Judy, she’s a whizz at languages, I’m not. I’ve taught English as a second language and decided I’d much rather be a teacher than a student. I’m envious of these Kenyan kids, they have to learn at least 2 languages throughout their school life.

I’m 44 and yet feel like a 4 year old trying to learn Kiswahili.

I’ve heard people say that you can never stop learning. Heck, move to a country like Kenya and then you have the right to say that. I was wanting to get my Masters in Development some time in the future, but every day here in Kenya is a classroom.

Society here is our teacher and she’s not always nice or patient.

Sometimes I don’t want to hear what she is saying and some times I just don’t care. Sometimes I just want to go to a movie and forget that I’m in Africa.

The fact is though that we are here and we do have to learn. As someone told us ‘Coming to Africa shows you what’s really inside of you, how big a capacity you have’. I thought I was a big person inside but discovered that I’m not. I’m too judgemental, opinionated, narrow-minded and set in my own ways – thank you very much!!

While life is a schoolroom, we have to be willing to learn.

I’m always telling my students that attitude determines altitude, now I have to take my own medicine. While the medicine might not taste great, it is good for us.






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