Teacher Elisha: Master Juggler

This is Teacher Elisha, the headmaster of Royal Kids School. Somehow, just somehow, he is able to keep the upper primary running smoothly. Most educators and administrators would be amazed at how much this man is able to accomplish. Besides teaching both English and Math (he was also teaching Science last year, but the school was able to hire another teacher), he counsels his former students as they prepare for high school, pacifies worried parents, frequently meets with local officials, while also implementing new ways of improving the school. In most schools, just one of those responsibilities would be someone’s full time job. On top of that, he never seems rushed and can spend hours discussing Kenyan politics or marketing approaches.

Teacher Elisha is seated in his new headmaster’s office. The past few years, he’s been sharing the staff room, which was also the entrance to the girls’ dormitory. Having a constant stream of boarding students and teachers coming in and out of the staff room made parents uncomfortable as they were discussing concerns about their children. But now he has a freshly white-washed room that he shares with the deputy headmaster, where he can more quietly meet with parents and answer students’ questions. On the wall behind him, is a list of the upper primary teachers, a picture of the current Kenyan president (standard procedure in all public spaces), and an acrostic spelling out the positive characteristics of a child.

Teacher Elisha is absolutely committed to the school’s vision. He’s usually the first teacher to arrive at 6:30 in the morning, and the last to leave around 8:30 in the evening. School is still in session on Saturdays, and he usually comes by Sunday afternoons for a two hour session with the eighth grade students. He truly cares about the students he teaches. He’s very patient with them whenever they come by for assistance with a math problem or grammatical question. But he doesn’t spoon feed them the answers. It’s amusing to watch him take the time to tell a rather complicated story, which usually confuses the student but helps the student to figure out the answer.

He also provides a lot of encouragement the students’ parents. Many parents received very minimal education, and he gladly walks them through the process of supporting their students during primary school and then through the process of sending them on to high school. During our conversation today, I asked him why he would put so much effort in hand-holding these parents (as in, finding high schools for their students, when it should be the parent’s responsibility). Besides explaining some parents’ lack of education, he also explained how important an extensive amount of support is for the school’s community.

Teacher Elisha’s dedication, passion, and commitment to his work astounds me. He believes strongly in the importance of education in these students’ lives and their potential to craft a better a world.

 

 

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