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Rebecca Akinyi

Professional Learning Community Cordinator, KENYA CONNECT

Bold question: What if teacher professional development offered effective and efficient pedagogical and emotional support for improved learning outcomes?

Path to Metis: In my secondary school years, I developed so much interest in championing for positive change in people’s lives. I met with school mates who came from very humble backgrounds but shared kindness beyond imagination.

The teachers were loving and very supportive to us. They literally walked us through schooling and the number of success stories that came out from the four year journey by those who were ahead of us was always an inspiration. They always came back in droves to say thank you. It is then I figured out that I would fulfill my desire of impacting lives positively by being an educator. I got so immersed. I believed in the power of education for I had experienced it first hand.

I registered whole-heartedly to the Bachelor of Education program and spiced it with my favorite combination; English and Literature!

Even before completion of my studies, I was knocking doors at various schools for consideration for a teaching job. There were strong relationships built way up. I saw transformation from young people who started with barely little know-how to great public speakers and composers through speaking and writing.

With a frequent change in schools depending on the availability of a teaching vacancy, I got to my thoughtful point. Here I met learners who did not make progress as my usual expectation. With various teaching strategies employed, we were not making any progress, neither were the students showing interest. My passion got on a shaky ground. I grew thin and stressed with less interest in what I once loved. Motivational speakers and quotes didn’t do much. Books tried. I started following groups on Facebook that would speak to me. I bumped into “Help A Teacher”, “Teachershelpteachers” among others that often posted about teacher experiences and anything about the teacher environment. In one of the comments on a random post, I read of a teacher from definitely a different country with a problem similar to mine. The suggestions from fellow educators varied from encouraging to discouraging.

With a frequent following of the pages, suggestions of Teacher Professional Development workshops came, I attended some, and followed on others by what participants shared after for what they learnt. I got help. I brought this close to me at my workstation and around the zone and sub county, it didn’t work pretty well, but at least I got a community that together we had great reflections on WhatsApp. I realized the great need for teacher professional development in practice. When Kenya Connect advertised the position of a professional learning community coordinator, I felt that this was an opportunity for me to impact change among teachers. I applied and was successful.

Here, I have seen a gradual and progressive impact that teacher professional development has had on the teachers, even with challenges, there is an impressive progress. I desire to have this at scale for all teachers in the country and beyond for every learner deserves a competent, socially and emotionally well teacher.

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Rebecca Akinyi
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