Teaching in Ghana:
I taught Kindergarten through 8th grade French and English at Bevy Bi-Lingual and Anani International School in Accra, Ghana. I taught basic grammar and literature, assisted in exam preparation, helped facilitate final examinations, and formed bonds with students by the end of my student teaching. I lived at a hostel for the first three weeks and a home stay for the remaining five weeks. From there, I walked to and from school every day. On weekends/school breaks, I ate with local Ghanaians, traveled around Ghana’s different regions, and enjoyed Ghanaian culture firsthand!
The host culture:
My favorite part about Ghanaian culture is the value of respect. Students were always asking if they could help teachers by carrying chairs and bringing their meals. There was a sense of amity between teachers and students that was different from some placements in the U.S. Outside of the classroom, Ghanaians are very respectful towards their elders and family members. Again, this is somewhat seen in our American classrooms, but not to this degree. On a more surface level definition of culture, I loved Ghanaian food. Be sure to ask an Auntie if you can try some red red or banku and okra!
You are there to be a teacher, yes, but you're also there as a learner and observer. Appreciate this culture for what it is, and challenge what you thought it would be and why.
Challenging conditions and teaching creatively:
The most challenging living aspect of my placement in Ghana would be the conditions in which my students and their communities were living. For example, many students walk to school, unaccompanied, for miles in intense heat. My professional time as a student teacher in Ghana taught me that you do not need materials to be a star teacher. My student teaching in Indiana was filled with laptops, projectors, smart boards, and headphones whereas teaching in Ghana taught me to get creative with lesson plans that involved little to no materials. These experiences have prepared me for my goal of being a lifelong educator, in that it is always important to think on your toes and repurpose your own devices to fit different age groups/subjects.
Advice for future students:
My advice to you is this: be patient and be open. Things will not always happen as you want them to or think they should. My host father, Uncle Eddie, often said “you’re on Ghana time now!” You are there to be a teacher, yes, but you're also there as a learner and observer. Appreciate this culture for what it is, and challenge what you thought it would be and why. I was honored to be the first Global Gateway student from Indiana University to arrive in Ghana. It was one of the most unique experiences in my teaching career thus far, and it will forever be one that I reflect upon as I continue my pedagogy. Just as I did, you will soon know the true definition of AKWAABA when teaching in Ghana.