I got to follow Miss Jinan, one of the school's english teachers. She is a very proffessional teacher, managing the classroom with great control but yet some flexibility. She was very well-spoken and it was easy for us to get along. She took her job very serious, prepared her lesson into detail (which is required, but still) and she said she enjoyed it very much. She start her work at 7.30 after a twenty minutes drive to the school and finish at 13.30, thereafter she have around two hours of preparation to complete. Her sallary is 200 dollar a month.
She teaches grade 1-3 (6 years-8 years). The lessons always start with "God Morning Teacher! How are you?", and she let the children sing a lot, play games and act, listen to the lessons, write on the blackboard, write in the textbook, read - she keeps them busy. What surprised me is that the children are very active during class, everyone want to answer Miss Jinan's questions. All the time you hear "Me! Me! Me!".
This school opened just recently with the ambition for a high education level and no punishments. It is strictly forbidden to beat the children which is otherwise very common in Gaza, unfortunately. During my 3 days stay I saw that they however do not live up to their ambition, although this school is much better than others. The yearly fee is around 1000 dollar, whichs includes schooluniforms, books, transportation. Needless to say that this is not a representative school for Gaza, but it is one of the progressive schools.
This school is different in that regard that they have invested in the classrooms (they have quality chairs, desks, curtains), the teachers have a room to sit and prepare their work which is unusual (yes!), the teachers are provided with aids such as taperecorder, and they work with the Brittish Council and use their DVD for showing documentaries for the children. This school does not stand still, they try to learn and develop, which can not be said for other schools in Gaza who still use the same way of teaching as they used for todays students parents.
The teachers seemes very much interested in each student. Miss Jinan tells me often about each students personalities "He is a very active boy!" or "She likes to read a lot!" or about their family situation "This father's boy died last year" or "His parents split up" and she tries to help them accordingly. In the teacher's room they discuss improvment of the students, who need extra help and what they can do to improve their classes. They take eachother's opinions. The prepare activities for the lessons and - of course - drink tea.
In the teacher's roomAnother unusual part of the school is the children's art exhibition. They have a special classroom just for arts and here is some of the results. The whole school have posters on the walls with images or wise words like "Qui Cherche Trouve!" in french and arabic. The three with the photos are the best students of each class.
Inside the school
After each break (they only have two during the whole day) they line up for some handclapping and singing on the schoolyard. It's very important to stand in straight lines. Then it is back to class!
Over all the school was very nice. I liked many things. They have invested in quality and have a good ambition. The reality however didn't quite match up which is very sad and left me very hopeless.
To finish this post is a photo from the school's entrance. Says something about the reality of this young generation.