By Joe Karanja – SBM Head Teacher
Ever since the start of the term in January Paul and I embarked on a journey that is meant to transform SBM into a child friendly school. For children to perform better they need to be assured of a friendly environment and the positive support from the teacher relationships. Our first task was to create this environment for our children. We constantly assure our children of success, praise and give feedback to them at any given opportunity and the result has been a positive one, all children have fallen in love with the school. There is more confidence and more achievement from the students.
A school cannot transform without the contribution of the teachers. Every Thursday morning before classes the teachers have their own assembly where after a moment of devotion we motivate each other put each week into perspective. The school mission statement is often discussed with the aim of further embedding a value based education. Our standards for each week and the key priorities are also discussed and members of staff are assigned tasks based on their interests. This goes a long way in ensuring the confidence of the teachers in their work is sustained. With more teachers taking up new roles and tasks, there has been an increased sense of pride and ownership which has gone a long way in turning around the school.
In January, we put our heads together and identified the school development plan for the year 2017. We divided the school into sections, Kindergarten section headed by Madam Pauline, Lower Primary headed by Madam Odelia, Middle Primary headed by our senior teacher Madam Milka and the Upper Primary headed by our Deputy Head teacher Paul. This division has gone a long way in solving our challenges at each level easily. It has also given the teachers the morale of working freely at their levels yet contributing towards or objective for the year.
As a school, we identified that many students had a problem with mathematics. Since this is a key subject, we decided to introduce mathematics hours. Every Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning our children engage in mathematics quizzes, fun and discussion. We hope this will not only improve the subject performance of the school but will also ensure that the learners individual performance is elevated. We have identified our most able students and encouraged them to work with the least able students. And in order to have most of the students do well, the teachers have decided to be in school on Saturdays and guess what-we marked our first ever mathematics week with lots of fun
Brendan Coleman visited the school and as a school committed to instilling a value based education in our children, we implemented a key suggestion he shared with us. Each week students from various levels, who have lived the week by exemplary and distinguished dedication to our values, usually have a special lunch on Fridays with the teachers of their choice. This has transformed our environment so much as students compete to outshine each other in living our true values.
As part of our culture, we have decided to have students display their talents in music and dance. On the 17th March the students held their first ever cultural day that was fun filled with lots of talents at display. And what a coincidence too the date happened to be the St. Patricks Day and we marked it with Kevin & Mary here in the school. Many student are also taking part in sports and currently they have managed to reach the district level. This is a big achievement for them since competing in these government controlled ball games is an arduous task.
More positive changes are on the way for SBM. We hope all these changes will make the students achieve more and more. It is our hope that the school will be a true reflection of change here in Kenya. Our quest as a school will always be to offer a holistic education that will lift our children from the yoke of poverty.