Monday, 22 October 2012

Reaching Out to Give a Hand Up

I'm opposed to hand outs- giving something that at best solves only a temporary problem and creates dependency. Our aim to help provide a hand up- to lift people up on their feet and help them have the skills and abilities to accomplish great things without having to rely on us... we want to make ourselves redundant. This is why our primary goal here in Cameroon is to start a unique school which will be a center of excellence in its Spiritual focus, character development and academic quality. Many have started Bible schools, but these often result in a hireling class of preachers, and face immense challenges of trying to teach someone to decipher scripture when they can't tell you the difference between a verb and a noun. We envisage a school that will provide not only a high caliber academic education, but at the same time will turn out students with great Bible knowledge and understanding who also have the character it takes to get the gospel out.

This process is going to take considerable finances, time and personnel, and may be some years in the making. As we continue to make preparations for this, raise finances, and also wait upon the Lord to provide teachers, curriculum, approval and more, we both love to teach. SO, I have started volunteering at a local Secondary School, Baird Memorial "College" where I teach remedial English classes twice a week and do the chapel services on Fridays. While the impact of this may be minor compared to when we start our school, it is a place to start, and so we have. Brittney also started teaching in a primary school around the bend, but more about that from her later.

The kids I teach are supposed to be in 6th to 8th grade, but I have found their English level to be around 2nd and 3rd grade. They were marched through the programs whether or not they actually comprehended what they were taught and so have massive gaps in their learning- such as knowing that a sentence ends with punctuation.
I was given around 20-25 students who were identified as struggling with their English this represents a good portion of those in Form 1 as well as many in Form 2. (Form 1= 6th or 7th grade, Form 2= 7th or 8th: the system varies from that of the United States).

I give them photocopies from a 2nd grade book to work on. It is sometimes overwhelming to see how much needs to be done, the gaps in their learning. I am only given 2 hours a week, and know that I won't be able to make up for years of poor learning, but hopefully I can help them make at least some progress and see them improve.

This experience has re-affirmed the need for a true Christian school which will excel. It will be a big challenge, but will be worth it. There is only so much Brittney and I can do, but if we can train up young people from a tender age and help them have the skills, abilities, character and the Spirit to make an impact in Cameroon and all of Africa, then we'll see real change.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Hostetters! you guys are a great encouragement to all of us. Your zeal for the Lord and His kingdom is amazing! I know God will provide all the needed resources for the Christian school at the right time. Keep shining!