We are working in a small school paid for and run by our partner NGO, Organization for Good Life of the Marginalized. The NGO covers all the school costs for the ~100 children who attend. It covers grades kindergarten, P1, P2, and P3. The school previously taught P4 as well, but were forced to shut it down due to budget constraints. The school has no electricity or running water. There are two classrooms, one with benches and desks, the other only with benches. There is a third room that is used to teach the kindergarteners in the early morning, although it is attached to a chicken coop and is not technically a part of the school. The students have small lined paper workbooks and pencils, but no other books or supplies. Classes start at 8 am, the youngest grades get out of school at 1 pm, and P3 stays until 4.
There are 3 teachers, but they don’t have strictly assigned classes. Lydia generally teaches the kindergarteners and P1, while Edith and Anett teach P1, P2, and P3, with some variations depending on the day/circumstances. Annett has attended university and received a degree in primary education. Edith and Lydia have both completed secondary school and received teaching certificates. We have not been able to observe the teachers outside of the time that we have been teaching the XOs to the class. However, Edith has already shown to be more suited to the constructionist learn technique, she has spent plenty of time exploring the activities outside of our daily teacher training sessions. She also works in class with the students to explain the XO, whereas Annett and Lydia tend to dictate what to do without defining for the kids why or what they are accomplishing.
The 3 teachers had never used computers prior to our teacher training sessions. Hellen, our NGO volunteer, has used computers in university, and after 4 weeks of using the XO has almost the same proficiency as the three of us. Because there is no grid power and most villagers are very poor, no one in the community owns a computer. Our NGO has established an ICT center in Butabaala, the nearest village with grid power, where students from the nearby secondary schools receive computer lessons. However very few people from our village attend that school and the ICT center is only a few months old.
The children are all very excited to see us, all the time. The older ones can usually contain themselves enough to pay attention, but the P1 aged kids tend to just grab our hands and stare adoringly into our eyes. Cute at first, highly frustrating when we’re trying to teach Shift+w=W and they refuse to tear their gazes away even for a moment to look at the keyboard. We know a few of the kids very well because they live at the orphanage across the path from us. They spend a lot of time playing drums on our front porch, playing board games in our living room, or just sneaking in to use our XOs when we’re asleep. The rest of the school kids we’re still learning, because we’ve only taught three days of class so far.