By: PoP Ghana Team
At Pencils of Promise (PoP), we believe that a quality learning environment is critical to student success, so we build schools, train teachers and provide access to clean water to ensure all children have access to a safe and healthy place to learn.
Kpando Kpodzi E.P. Primary School in the Volta Region in Ghana is one of these quality learning environments. Over five years ago, PoP Ghana concluded the construction of four new classrooms for kindergarten (KG) students that had been previously studying in provisional classrooms (i.e., informal structures often built out of natural materials).
This PoP-built structure has since benefited hundreds of students and teachers, including Ms. Felicia Ahotor, a KG teacher at the school and recent recipient of the Best Kindergarten Teacher award during 2020’s Ghana Teacher Prize celebrations this past October.
The Ghana Teacher Prize is an annual celebration by the country’s government of teachers of all levels and their contributions to educational development in the country. This year, awards went to teachers who showed excellence in “Teacher leadership in developing crisis education response”.
Recently, our Learning & Evaluation Coordinator in Ghana, Lebene Kpodo, had the opportunity to interview Ms. Felicia:
Here is the full transcript:
Lebene: Good morning.
Ms Felicia: Good Morning Madam, and you are welcome.
Lebene: Thank you and how are you?
Ms Felicia: Fine, thank you.
Lebene: Please, what is your name?
Ms Felicia: Felicia Ahotor.
Lebene: Which school do you teach at?
Ms Felicia: Kpando Kpodzi E.P. Primary School.
Lebene: Which Grade do you teach?
Ms Felicia: Kindergarten Two.
Lebene: What motivates you as a teacher?
Ms Felicia: What motivates me in my teaching is the way the learners respond to the teaching.
Lebene: How long have you been teaching?
Ms Felicia: 17 years.
Lebene: And how long have you been teaching in this school?
Ms Felicia: Seven years.
Lebene: Were you teaching in this school before the PoP build?
Ms Felicia: Yes, please.
Lebene: What was the condition of your formal classroom?
Ms Felicia: It was very poor. We had a lot of holes on the floor. The floor was not leveled, the roof was leaking. There were no windows and the doors were also not in good condition.
Lebene: How did the condition of your formal classroom affect teaching and learning?
Ms Felicia: It affected it, especially in the raining season. Anytime it rained we had to find a place for the kids and gather them at one corner.
Lebene: What difference has the new building brought in terms of teaching and learning?
Ms Felicia: In the new building, now we have displayed a lot of TLMs (Teaching and Learning Materials) in the classroom so that anytime the teacher is absent, the children can do individual learning.
Lebene: How do you feel being given the Best KG Teacher Award of 2020?
Ms Felicia: I feel so great and happy.
Lebene: Do you think the PoP school building has contributed to winning this award?
Ms Felicia: Yes.
Ms Felicia: First, the old building was not even attractive to the parents and to the learners so parents sent their children to surrounding private schools. So because of the new PoP building, parents are now withdrawing their kids from the private schools to our school. And it has also helped to reduce absenteeism among the kids. First, they didn’t like coming to school because the old building was not attractive to them. But now, every day they are in school. Then we display a lot of Teaching and Learning Materials for them to handle.
Lebene: In your opinion, how can Early Childhood Education be improved in Ghana?
Ms Felicia: First, KGs should be provided with a conducive environment because children learn in aesthetic environments. The environment should be attractive and appealing to them. Then more teachers should be trained in Early Childhood. And we, the older ones, more workshops should be organized for us to acquire more skills to handle them (KG Learners).
Lebene: So in your opinion, what is the role of teachers in improving Early Childhood Education in Ghana?
Ms Felicia: Teachers in general have to support the KG and they should also accept to come to the KG and teach because in the KGs, the children are very active and so they need energetic and active teachers, not the old ladies. The old ladies are already tired, so young ones should accept to come to the KG and teach the children. When the foundation is strong and they are moving to the upper classes, they will not suffer.
Lebene: Congratulations once again for winning this award. Thank you so much for your time.
Ms Felicia: You are welcome. Thank you too.